Abstract: Ancient DNA analysis has revealed an involvement of the bacterial pathogen Yersinia pestis in several historical pandemics, including the second plague pandemic (Europe, mid-14th century Black Death until the mid-18th century AD). Here we present reconstructed Y. pestis genomes from plague victims of the Black Death and two subsequent historical outbreaks spanning Europe and its vicinity, namely Barcelona, Spain (1300–1420 cal AD), Bolgar City, Russia (1362–1400 AD), and Ellwangen, Germany (1485–1627 cal AD). Our results provide support for (1) a single entry of Y. pestis in Europe during the Black Death, (2) a wave of plague that traveled toward Asia to later become the source population for contemporary worldwide epidemics, and (3) the presence of an historical European plague focus involved in post-Black Death outbreaks that is now likely extinct.
Citation: Maria A. Spyrou, Rezeda I. Tukhbatova, Michal Feldman, Joanna Drath, Sacha Kacki, Julia Beltrán de Heredia, Susanne Arnold, Airat G. Sitdikov, Dominique Castex, Joachim Wahl, Ilgizar R. Gazimzyanov, Danis K. Nurgaliev, Alexander Herbig, Kirsten I. Bos, Johannes Krause, „Historical Y. pestis Genomes Reveal the European Black Death as the Source of Ancient and Modern Plague Pandemics,“ Cell Host and Microbe 19, no. 6 (8 June 2016), 874–881, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2016.05.012.