Black Death Alters Human Genome 700 Years Later

Barreiro and colleagues discovered that Black Death survivors in London and Denmark had genes that safeguarded them from the plague pathogen. However, Black Death altered human genome 700 years later.

Black Death Alters Human Genome 700 Years Later

The Black Death, which ravaged through North Africa, Europe, and Asia 700 years ago, constituted one of the biggest mortality events in human history, eradicating 30–60% of the world’s population.

The ancient dead had a secret, according to recently published findings in the medical journal Nature (read below). DNA samples from victims and survivors of Yersinia pestis, widely recognized as the bubonic plague, revealed unique genetic variances that allowed some to survive while others died.

Those genetic changes most likely altered the evolution of the human genome, as plague survivors passed on genes that previously helped them survive the dreadful plague pathogen to their kids and are now connected to an increased risk of autoimmune disorders including Crohn’s and rheumatoid arthritis.

 “We are the descendants of those that survived past pandemics … and understanding the evolutionary mechanisms that contributed to our survival is not only important from a scientific viewpoint, but can also inform on the mechanisms and genetic determinants of present-day susceptibility to disease,” study coauthor Luis Barreiro, a professor of genetic medicine at the University of Chicago, told CNN via email.

Barreiro and colleagues discovered that Black Death survivors in London and Denmark had genes that safeguarded them from the plague pathogen. They discovered that one particular gene, known as ERAP 2, was protective against the virus. Prior to the plague, 40% of Londoners carried the gene; after the outbreak, 50% did. Denmark was in the same boat. Before the plague, approximately 40% of people had the gene, whereas 70% had it afterward.

“It’s a LONG process, but in the end you have the sequence of those genes for those people from before, during and after the plague and you can ask: Do the genes one population carried looked different than the ones another population carried,” said coauthor Hendrik Poinar, a professor of anthropology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario in an email.

However, the gene came at a significant cost to individuals who survived the Black Death because it raised the chance of autoimmune disorders in subsequent generations.

“This suggests that populations that survived the Black Death paid a price, which is to have an immune system that increases our susceptibility to react against ourselves,” Barreiro said.

The findings emphasize natural selection up to the current day and how the Black Death influenced not just society but also the human immune system. Barreiro does not think Covid will have the same impact because it kills people of all ages, mainly the elderly who are not procreating.

Read the document below:

GreatGameIndia is being actively targeted by powerful forces who do not wish us to survive. Your contribution, however small help us keep afloat. We accept voluntary payment for the content available for free on this website via UPI, PayPal and Bitcoin.

Support GreatGameIndia


  1. hey dumb ass the plague was not a virus . It was a bacteria . So your whole communication is shit and to be discarded

  2. CCP-Virus kills mostly old people. It will have NO effect on the genome. On the other hand, you should watch what is happening with the man made mRNA virus.

Leave a Reply