Understanding the Plague

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 7,070
    Scientists draw DNA from two victims of the Justinian Plague to compare the strain to the Black Death of the 1800s and look at the possibility of a future plague.

    Scientists now have more insight into the devastating Justinian and Black plagues and warn it could happen again.  Drawing DNA from teeth of two victims of the Justinian plague, which helped bring about the end of the Roman Empire, researchers found that the strain responsible for this pandemic was an evolutionary “dead-end” and distinct from strains involved later in the Black Death pandemic of the late 1800s.  The Justianian plague erupted, wiped out half the world’s population, and then died out.  Scientists said if it did it once, it could do it again.  Fortunately, they also added that we now have antibiotics to help us combat the pandemic.