Gene sequencing tells us the Black Death, The Plague, traces back to China


Gene sequencing gives scientists the hereditary data of organisms. From that, they now know that the disease, also known as The Plague, which killed about 100 million, came from China 2000 years ago.

Several scientists wrote about it in the medical journal Nature Genetics as they study plague pandemics from the Black Death to the late 1800s.

The Black Death was caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis. It was one of the deadliest and most widespread in history and peaked in Europe between 1348 and 1350. It reached Crimea in 1346 and probably spread via fleas on black rats travelling on merchant ships. From there it hit the Mediterranean and Europe. It destroyed between 30% to 60% of Europe’s population.

The Plague took 150 years for Europe to recover its population size. It came back until the 19th century when it left Europe forever. Victims died within 2-7 days after the infection appeared.

It evolved around China over 2000 years ago and spread several times as deadly pandemics.

Scientists compared genome sequences, 933 variable DNA sites of plague isolates from around the world, and were able to trace their path as they worked out the age of them.

The Yersinia pestis is seriously restricted and it’s not easy assembling a collection, but a team from around the world were able to assemble a collection.

Pandemics have always been and they have shaped civilizations. About 50% of China’s population perished. It spread with Chinese travelers.

The last plague pandemic of 1894 spread to India and many parts of the globe.


Project leader, Professor Mark Achtman, Department of Microbiology, based in the Environmental Research Institute in University College Cork, Ireland, said: “What I felt was so amazing about the results is that we could link the genetic information so accurately to major historical events.”

“Routes of transmission of the plague from Hong Kong since 1894.” ( Map)

“Yersinia pestis genome sequencing identifies patterns of global phylogenetic diversity”

For more of this fascinating information, go to Medical News Today or to the link above.


Need I state the obvious? I will anyway. We CANNOT have one drugstore for the world. China’s leadership has this idea that they will become the world’s drugstore and have articulated that. Currently, they make somewhere between 70% and 90% of the world’s important drugs or their key ingredients. One nation must not make all our drugs or the key ingredients thereof for many reasons. But here is another, they could be spreading it.



0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments