Thursday, October 13, 2011

Black Death Is 'Grandmother' of All Modern Plagues

I was just reading about the new genetic research that indicates the bacterium blamed for the Black Death, a bug that wiped out more than a third of Europe's population within about five years. Looks an awful lot like the modern versions of the plague-causing bug. And I was struck by the thought that perhaps we need to be very careful about messing around with this kind of stuff in a laboratory.

While I am not saying that these scientists are doing any thing that is dangerous. They are only looking at DNA. It makes the Mad Scientist in me think about all kinds of nasty things that could come out of such knowledge. Then again. That's always the price we pay for knowledge.

It also makes one think about how horrendous it must have been for the people of Europe at that time. Its hard to contemplate the effect of a third of the population dying. If it were to happen today it would devastate the economy. In fact it could conceivably destroy our entire civilization.

Scary thought.

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