December 2000, Researchers from the National Cancer Institute
in Maryland, USA, analysed DNA samples from 100 residents
in Eyam, selected on the basis that the family should be
traceable back to the seventeenth century when the village
was struck by bubonic plague.
found that a higher than normal proportion of the villagers
carried a genetic mutation referred to as "CCR5-Delta
32" or just "Delta 32", which gives immunity
to bubonic plague. The story was told in an excellent Channel
Four documentary, "Riddle of the Plague Survivors",
in February 2002.
Eyam, where almost everyone was exposed to plague, those
not carrying the mutation would die, while those with the
mutation survived to produce children, who would also carry
Delta 32. Sure enough, even after more than 300 years, the
population still shows an unusually high incidence of the
research sparked enormous interest, not least because it
is known that the Delta 32 mutation, if inherited from both
parents, gives immunity to HIV / AIDS.
soon found that many people were asking about Delta 32,
and produced a temporary display giving more details. This
has now been incorporated into the main display, with even