Gonzalo López SánchezSEGUIRMadrid Updated: Save Send news by mail electrónicoTu name *

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as he writes the anthropologist Jared Diamond in his book “Guns, germs, and steel”, the researchers have concluded that the indian population dropped to a 95 percent in the two centuries following the arrival of Christopher Columbus to America. She says, “the main elements deadly were the germs of the Old World, to which the indians had never been exposed and against which they had, therefore, genetic resistance or immune”. These were first smallpox, measles, influenza and typhus, and later diphtheria, malaria, mumps, pertussis, plague, tuberculosis and yellow fever.

apart from this, sometimes the syphilis is cited as an example exclusive of disease is not carried to America, but brought from the New World by the europeans, in the midst of a great controversy. Since the first outbreak was recorded in 1495, sometimes even pointing to the crew of Christopher Columbus as responsible for introducing this pathogen in the Old World, causing a severe pandemic of a disease that, by then, was lethal, and that in the beginning it was inhaling harmful vapors of mercury. This week, a study published in the journal “Current Biology” has shown genetic evidence of the pathogen causing syphilis, the bacterium Treponema pallidum, could be present in Europe before Columbus zarpara to America. Researchers have detected signs of the microbe in human remains found in Finland, Estonia and the Netherlands, and dating from the early FIFTEENTH century and the EIGHTEENTH.

“it Seems that the first outbreak of syphilis known cannot be attributed solely to the voyages of Christopher Columbus,” he said in a press release Verena He , director of the study and researcher at the Institute of Medicine in the development of the University of Zurich (Switzerland).

forensic science history

researchers have come to this conclusion through the sequencing of genomes of old, a technique that allow you to analyze the genetic material of individuals who died centuries ago, or millennia, as if you were at the service of police officers and scientists of the story: “Thanks to the genomes of old, now it is possible to apply for the first time a dating more reliable the tree of the genus Treponema —it belongs to the cause of this disease—”, has said He.

clean Room where they examined the bones for DNA ex – UZH

Thanks to that, researchers have not only pointed out that it is perfectly possible that Treponema pallidum already existed in Europe before the departure of Columbus. In addition, they have detected the presence of a pathogen that causes yaws, or yaw, now a tropical infection of the skin, bones and joints, in one of the european individuals. Therefore: “Our data show that yaws was widespread throughout Europe . Was not limited to the tropics, as it is today,” said Verena He.

in Addition to that, the genetic information has led them to suggest that the different subspecies of Treponema pallidum evolve since at least 2,500 years ago. Their last common ancestor, the “ancestor” of the varieties present in this group, existed between the centuries XII and XVI. The evidence also shows that the treponematosis diseases caused by the genus Treponema, were widespread in Europe at the beginning of the Modern Age.

A disease missing

in view of this information, the authors have proposed how this could be the story of these pathogens: “the strains of treponematosis coevolucionaran and exchange genetic material before and after the contact intercontinental “, has suggested the director work. “We may have to revise our theories about the origins of syphilis and other treponematosis”.

in Addition to all this, the researchers have discovered an interesting piece of the puzzle I had overlooked until now: they have found a pathogen that has now disappeared, which evolved wing time syphilis and yaws. “This unexpected finding is especially interesting for us, poruue this lineage is similar to the subspecies of Treponema current, but at the same time I had a cualidaddes that made him unique,” said Kerttu Majander , the first author of the work.

“Its pustules covering often the body from the head to the knees, made to detach the flesh from the face of the people who are infected,”

Today, syphilis is associated with a sexually transmitted disease that causes genital ulcers, and it can only cause death if not treated for many years. “However, when syphilis was registered for the first time conclusively in Europe in 1495, he writes Jared Diamond, in “Guns, germs and steel”— its pustules covering often the body from the head to the knees, made to detach the flesh from the face of the people infected and wore to death a few months “.

fortunately, as occurs with other parasites, the causative bacteria of this evil evolved and started to leave the living to their victims for a longer time, as it extended farther.

despite the prophylactic syphilis has infected more than 10 million people in the last few decades. The terrible impact of germs on history again to remind us of the importance of the science, and vaccines and treatments that develops, as the only remedy with which you fight against pathogens as terrible as the SARS-CoV-2, that are today engulfing humanity.

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