Friday, February 10, 2017

Child Mummy Could Rewrite Smallpox Timeline

     This article  explains how a young mummy girl named Lithuanian who holds the oldest sample of smallpox. The tissue sample that was taken from Lithuanian that dates back to the 1600's gave researchers the ability to reconstruct the RNA sequence for the smallpox virus. The international researchers took the reconstructed RNA and compared its genetic samples with recent samples. By comparing the strands researchers were then able to create a phylogenetic tree that traced the history of the virus. By creating the phylogenetic tree researchers then tried to take the time back to measure its rate of mutation in order to understand the pace at which the virus grows and spreads. By examining the old strand further the researchers were able to identify that the common strand shared a common ancestry.
     I found this article useful in understanding the life span of the small pox. The small pox was a big epidemic that happened in Europe and it was not until the first vaccination came about that the smallpox was kept under control. It is important to understand were the strain came from and how it has changed over time in order to see how the strand evolved. In order to prevent a future small pox epidemic it is useful to understand its make up in order for this epidemic to not happen again.

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