The ‘Black Death’ has been the most lethal pandemic that humanity has suffered to date.

This pandemic was a bubonic plague that swept northern Africa and Eurasia in the middle of the fourteenth century (1346-1353).


Caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, this disastrous pandemic left its mark on the genome we carry today.

The genome is the totality of the DNA found in a cell.

A recently published paper in Nature suggests that marks of the bubonic plague can still be found in genes that are involved in the immune system

(the defence that our body uses as a means of protection from invading agents and also from other diseases like cancer).

It says that particularly four gene variants appeared to become more common after the pandemic. These gene variants may have contributed to the survival against the plague.


Experts have lauded the findings of the paper published in the Nature, entitled “Evolution of immune genes is associated with the Black Death”.