Genetic analysis clears up the evolutionary mystery surrounding leprosy
Leprosy has just shed some of its mystery. For the first time ever, a DNA analysis of Mycobacterium lepromatosis — a recently discovered bacteria that can cause a severe form of leprosy — reveals that the organism separated from its more common counterpart, Mycobacterium leprae, about 14 million years ago. The finding, published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could lead to better diagnostic tests and a more accurate map of leprosy’s geographic distribution. But it’s also intriguing in its own right: it shows that despite having broken off into separate species long ago, two pathogens can continue to infect a host — humans — in very similar ways.
Source:: The Verge