Open access Emergence and Spread of Basal Lineages of Yersinia pestis during the Neolithic Decline, by Rascovan et al. Cell (2018)
Abstract (emphasis mine):
Between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago, many Neolithic societies declined throughout western Eurasia due to a combination of factors that are still largely debated. Here, we report the discovery and genome reconstruction of Yersinia pestis, the etiological agent of plague, in Neolithic farmers in Sweden, pre-dating and basal to all modern and ancient known strains of this pathogen. We investigated the history of this strain by combining phylogenetic and molecular clock analyses of the bacterial
… Read the rest “Spread of Y. pestis, earlier than previously thought, may have caused Neolithic decline”
New open access paper from the Max Planck Institute: Analysis of 3800-year-old Yersinia pestis genomes suggests Bronze Age origin for bubonic plague, by Spyrou et al., Nature Communications (2018) 9:2234.
Interesting excerpts from the paper and supplementary materials (emphasis mine):
Here, we analyse material from the Mikhailovsky II burial site, which was excavated in 2015 and is one of numerous kurgan cemeteries identified in the Samara Oblast. It consists of seven kurgan burials, and is chronologically associated to the ‘Pokrovka’ phase (3,900-3,750 BP) of the ‘Srubnaya’ culture (3,850-3,150 BP) (radiocarbon dates produced in this study provided in Supplementary Table
… Read the rest “Oldest bubonic plague genome decoded in Srubna ca. 3800 YBP”
Open access Ancient DNA study reveals HLA susceptibility locus for leprosy in medieval Europeans, by Krause-Kyora et al., Nature Communications (2018)
Leprosy, a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae (M. leprae), was very common in Europe till the 16th century. Here, we perform an ancient DNA study on medieval skeletons from Denmark that show lesions specific for lepromatous leprosy (LL). First, we test the remains for M. leprae DNA to confirm the infection status of the individuals and to assess the bacterial diversity. We assemble 10 complete M. leprae genomes that all differ from each other. Second,
… Read the rest “Ancient DNA study reveals HLA susceptibility locus for leprosy in medieval Europeans”
New paper (behind paywall) Family graves? The genetics of collective burials in early medieval southern Germany on trial, by Rott. Päffgen, Haas-Gebhard, Peters, & Harbecka, J Arch Sci (2018) 92: 103–115.
Simultaneous collective burials appear quite regularly in early medieval linear cemeteries. Despite their relatively regular occurrence, they are seen as extraordinary as the interred individuals’ right to be buried in a single grave was ignored for certain reasons. Here, we present a study examining the possible familial relationship of early medieval individuals buried in this way by using aDNA analysis of mitochondrial HVR-I, Y-STRs, and autosomal miniSTRs.
… Read the rest “Mixed haplogroups R1a, R1b, I, in collective burials of early Medieval Bavarians”
In the latest revisions of the Indo-European demic diffusion model, using the results from the article Early Divergent Strains of Yersinia pestis in Eurasia 5,000 Years Ago, by Rasmussen et al., Cell (2015), I stated (more or less indirectly) that the high east-west mobility of the Corded Ware migrants across related cultures might have been responsible for the spread of this disease, which seems to have been originally expanded from Central Eurasia.
New results appeared recently in the article The Stone Age Plague and Its Persistence in Eurasia, by Valtueña et al., Current Biology (2017), which … Read the rest “Stone Age plague accompanying migrants from the steppe, probably Yamna, Balkan EBA, and Bell Beaker, not Corded Ware”