Scientists reconstruct leprosy genome medieval strains

Lepers are a common image in medieval histories, but by the end of the 16th century, the disease appeares to have mostly died out in Europe. Now a team of biologists and archeologists have reconstructed the genomes of medieval strains of the pathogen responsible for the disease to find out why.

In a report, published in the Journal Science, the team discussed their study and decoding of "the nearly complete genomes from five strains of Mycobacterium leprae, the bacterium responsible for leprosy, which they collected and reproduced by digging up the remains of humans buried in medieval graves."