A recent study of leprosy‘s genome verifies the old adage: “some things never change.”
An international group of researchers has extracted bacterial DNA from the skeletons of 24 leprosy victims in the hopes of finding genetic changes that led to leprosy’s declining prevalence. The samples that the team collected were compared to bacterial samples from current leprosy patients living in India, Thailand, the United States, and Brazil.
And what did the researchers find?
“…No meaningful differences,” according to Stewart Cole of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and a member of the research team. Because leprosy hasn’t changed much over the past few hundred years, Cole and the rest of the research group have speculated that the disease’s decline may have been due to social isolation of lepers or the rise of other diseases like the plague and tuberculosis.
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