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February 7 2014

RNA sequencing of 750-year-old barley virus sheds new light on the Crusades


Scientists have for the first time sequenced an ancient RNA genome of a barley virus once believed to be only 150 years old pushing its origin back at least 2,000 years and revealing how intense farming at the time of the Crusades contributed to its spread.

Researchers at the University of Warwick have detected and sequenced the RNA genome of Barley Stripe Mosaic Virus (BSMV) in a 750-year-old barley grain found at a site near the River Nile in modern-day Egypt. Their study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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