Early divergent strains of Yersinia pestis in Eurasia 5,000 years ago.
Bottom Line: How and when it originated remains contentious.We also identify a temporal sequence of genetic changes that lead to increased virulence and the emergence of the bubonic plague.Our results show that plague infection was endemic in the human populations of Eurasia at least 3,000 years before any historical recordings of pandemics.
Affiliation: Center for Biological Sequence Analysis, Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark, Kemitorvet, Building 208, 2800 Kongens Lyngby, Denmark.Show MeSH
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Mentions: Our calibrated molecular clock pushes the divergence dates for the early branching of Y. pestis back to 5,783 years ago, an additional 2,000 years compared to previous findings (Table S5, Figure S5) (Cui et al., 2013, Morelli et al., 2010). Furthermore, using the temporally stamped ancient DNA data, we are able to derive a time series for the molecular acquisition of the pathogenicity elements and immune avoidance systems that facilitated the evolution from a less virulent bacteria with zoonotic potential, such as Y. pseudotuberculosis, to one of the most deadly bacteria ever encountered by humans (Figure 6).
Affiliation: Center for Biological Sequence Analysis, Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark, Kemitorvet, Building 208, 2800 Kongens Lyngby, Denmark.