Can Genes Solve the Syphilis Mystery?

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Science  11 May 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5519, pp. 1091
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5519.1091

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Whether Columbus brought syphilis to the New World--or to the Old World--has long been the subject of conjecture. In June 2000, researchers excavating skeletons from an English monastery claimed that the skeletons show signs of syphilis. If the monks did in fact have the disease, they couldn't have gotten it from Columbus's voyage, because the skeletons were dated to between 1300 and 1450.