Toward a Molecular History of Yersinia pestis (AHA)

This post a resource for the presentation I gave at the AHA meeting in New Orleans on January 5, 2013. A color handout of the slides can be downloaded here.

This map will be continually updated as new finds are published. Some of the balloons mark sites with multiple studies. Click on the balloons for citations.


Achtman, M. (2012). Insights from genomic comparisons of genetically monomorphic bacterial pathogens. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 367(1590), 860–867. doi:10.1098/rstb.2011.0303

Bos, K. I., Schuenemann, V. J., Golding, G. B., Burbano, H. A., Waglechner, N., Coombes, B. K., et al. (2011). A draft genome of Yersinia pestis from victims of the Black Death. Nature, 1–5. doi:10.1038/nature10549

Bos, K. I., Stevens, P., Nieselt, K., Hendrik N Poinar, DeWitte, S. N., & Krause, J. (2012). Yersinia pestis: New Evidence for an Old Infection. PLoS ONE, 7(11), e49803.

Drancourt, M., & Raoult, D. (2005). Palaeomicrobiology: current issues and perspectives. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 3(1), 23–35. doi:10.1038/nrmicro1063

Drancourt, M., Houhamdi, L., & Raoult, D. (2006). Yersinia pestis as a telluric, human ectoparasite-borne organism. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 6(4), 234–241. doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(06)70438-8

Haensch, S., Bianucci, R., Signoli, M., Rajerison, M., Schultz, M., Kacki, S., et al. (2010). Distinct Clones of Yersinia pestis Caused the Black Death. (N. J. Besansky, Ed.)PLoS Pathogens, 6(10), e1001134. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1001134.t001

Houhamdi, L., Lepidi, H., Drancourt, M., & Raoult, D. (2006). Experimental model to evaluate the human body louse as a vector of plague. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 194(11), 1589–1596. doi:10.1086/508995

Little, L. K. (2011). Plague Historians in Lab Coats*. Past & Present, 213(1), 267–290. doi:10.1093/pastj/gtr014

Malou, N., Tran, T.-N.-N., Nappez, C., Signoli, M., Le Forestier, C., Castex, D., et al. (2012). Immuno-PCR – A New Tool for Paleomicrobiology: The Plague Paradigm. (S. Bereswill, Ed.)PLoS ONE, 7(2), e31744. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031744.g006

Morelli, G., Song, Y., Mazzoni, C. J., Eppinger, M., Roumagnac, P., Wagner, D. M., et al. (2010). Yersinia pestis genome sequencing identifies patterns of global phylogenetic diversity. Nature Genetics. doi:10.1038/ng.705

Nguyen-Hieu, T., Aboudharam, G., Signoli, M., Rigeade, C., Drancourt, M., & Raoult, D. (2010). Evidence of a Louse-Borne Outbreak Involving Typhus in Douai, 1710-1712 during the War of Spanish Succession. PLoS ONE, 5(10), e15405. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0015405

Parkhill, J., Wren, B. W., Thomson, N. R., Titball, R. W., Holden, M. T., Prentice, M. B., et al. (2001). Genome sequence of Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of plague. Nature, 413(6855), 523–527. doi:10.1038/35097083

Pusch, C. M., Rahalison, L., Blin, N., Nicholson, G. J., & Czarnetzki, A. (2004). Yersinial F1 antigen and the cause of Black Death. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 4(8), 484–485. doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(04)01099-0

Raoult, D., Dutour, O., Houhamdi, L., Jankauskas, R., Fournier, P.-E., Ardagna, Y., et al. (2006). Evidence for louse-transmitted diseases in soldiers of Napoleon’s Grand Army in Vilnius. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 193(1), 112–120. doi:10.1086/498534

Schuenemann, V. J., Bos, K., Dewitte, S., Schmedes, S., Jamieson, J., Mittnik, A., et al. (2011). PNAS Plus: Targeted enrichment of ancient pathogens yielding the pPCP1 plasmid of Yersinia pestis from victims of the Black Death. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 1–22. doi:10.1073/pnas.1105107108

Tran, T., Forestier, C., & Drancourt, M. (n.d.). Brief communication: Co‐detection of Bartonella quintana and Yersinia pestis in an 11th–15th burial site in Bondy, France. American Journal of ….

Tran, T.-N.-N., Signoli, M., Fozzati, L., Aboudharam, G., Raoult, D., & Drancourt, M. (2011). High throughput, multiplexed pathogen detection authenticates plague waves in medieval venice, Italy. PLoS ONE, 6(3), e16735. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016735

Wiechmann, I., & Grupe, G. (2004). Detection ofYersinia pestis DNA in two early medieval skeletal finds from Aschheim (Upper Bavaria, 6th century A.D.). American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 126(1), 48–55. doi:10.1002/ajpa.10276

Wiechmann, I., Harbeck, M., & Grupe, G. (2010). Yersinia pestis DNA Sequences in Late Medieval Skeletal Finds, Bavaria. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 16(11), 1806–1807.


7 thoughts on “Toward a Molecular History of Yersinia pestis (AHA)

  1. Sorry I missed the talk. I often wonder how Yersinia pestis of the Black Death area differs from, say, the pestis in bio weapons labs after World War 2 (which I’ve encountered in my work). Did your talk touch on the contemporary period at all?


    1. Part of my talk discussed modern strains but not particularly WWII bio weapons strains. I don’t know which strains those are. I’d be interested to know which strains were used.


      1. I wish I knew, but alas they only say Yersinia pestis in docs, and sometimes just pestis or plague. The recent accusations against Iran (for havings WMDs) just say plague as well, and commentators just make comparisons to the Black Death.


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