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Our Ancestors Survived the Black Death

Posted by Popper on February 18, 2014 at 18:36:13:

Interesting new light on the European populations affected by the Black Death way back when.

The wipeout of humans in Europe especially was pretty extensive. Those who did survive the plague though had some interesting beneficial mutations. A few genes bestowed resistance to the plague bacteria and these have been passed on to present populations - the descendants of the survivors.

The interesting thing is that Asian populations not affected by the Black Death do not have these mutations or an 'enhanced' immune system.

It's evolution in action folks and the downside in this case is that the descendants of the survivors of the Black Death tend to have more autoimmune illnesses - asthma and the like.

On balance though the fact that the mutations allowed them to survive a plaque that cut a huge swath through the human population and importantly survive long enough to have children of their own.


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