Johannes Krause

Johannes Krause (born July 17, 1980 in Leinefelde) is a German biochemist with a research focus on historical infectious diseases and human evolution. Since 2010, he has been professor of archaeology and paleogenetics at the University of Tübingen. In 2014, Krause was named co-director of the new Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena.


From 2000 to 2005, Krause studied biochemistry in Leipzig and at the University College Cork in Ireland. In 2005 he obtained his diploma with the publication The mitochondrial genome of the woolly mammoth at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, followed by a doctoral dissertation in 2008 under Svante Pääbo entitled From genes to genomes: Applications for multiplex PCR in Ancient DNA Research regarding genetic investigations into Neanderthals and cave bears.[1]

In 2010, for his doctoral thesis he was awarded the Tübingen Award for Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology. The same year, for his co-authorship of the Science article A draft sequence and preliminary analysis of the Neandertal genome he received the Newcomb Cleveland Prize of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the prize for the best article of the year. In October 2010, he became a junior professor at the Institute of Scientific Archaeology in Tübingen. Since then he has headed the working group on paleogenetics at the Institute.

In the summer of 2014, it was announced that the Max Planck Institute of Economics in Jena would receive a different mandate. Along with Russell Gray, Krause was appointed co-director of a new Max Planck Institute of History and the Sciences, starting February 1, 2014. At the same time Krause remains an Honorary Professor at the University of Tübingen.


Krause's focus is genetic analysis using DNA sequencing. His research interests include historical pathogens and epidemics and human evolution.

In 2010, Krause and others successfully reconstructed the mitochondrial DNA of a Denisovan individual from 30 milligrams of powdered material from a finger bone. This enabled him to demonstrate that the Denisovans represented an independent branch of the genus Homo which diverged from the Neanderthal lineage 640,000 years ago.[2][3] He also contributed to research in the genetic heritage of Neanderthals, which demonstrated that Neanderthals and modern humans share the same "language gene" (FOXP2) which suggests Neanderthals also had the capacity to speak.[4][5]

Krause was part of the international research team which in 2011 reconstructed the genome of the bacterium Yersinia pestis from DNA samples extracted from the 14th-century East Smithfield plague cemetery in London, establishing definitive proof that the medieval Black Death epidemic was caused by Y. pestis.[6][7]

In June 2013, Krause's group in collaboration with the Institute of Technology Lausanne published research showing that the leprosy bacterium has not changed genetically since the Middle Ages and all leprosy bacteria can be attributed worldwide to a common ancestor dating to 4000 BC.[8]

In 2017, a team lead by Krause performed the first reliable sequencing of the genomes of mummified individuals from Ancient Egypt. However, by the team's own admission in the manuscript, the samples may not have been representative of the majority of Egyptians, especially dynasties predating invasions by Eurasians. Previous haplotype and PCR DNA findings indicated Sub-Saharan African origin. Their study looked at 90 individuals and revealed that they "closely resembled ancient and modern Near Eastern populations, especially those in the Levant, and had almost no DNA from sub-Saharan Africa. What's more, the genetics of the mummies remained remarkably consistent even as different powers—including Nubians, Greeks, and Romans—conquered the empire.[9][10]


  • Lamnidis T.C.; et al. (2018). "Ancient Fennoscandian genomes reveal origin and spread of Siberian ancestry in Europe". Nature Communications. 9 (5018): 5018. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-07483-5. PMC 6258758. PMID 30479341.
  • Krause J.; et al. (2007). "Neanderthals in central Asia and Siberia". Nature. 449 (7164): 902–904. doi:10.1038/nature06193. PMID 17914357.
  • Krause J.; et al. (2008). "Mitochondrial genomes reveal an explosive radiation of extinct and extant bears near the Miocene-Pliocene boundary". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 8 (1): 220. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-8-220. PMC 2518930. PMID 18662376.
  • Krause J, et al. (2010). "The complete mitochondrial DNA genome of an unknown hominin from southern Siberia". Nature. 464 (7290): 894–897. doi:10.1038/nature08976. PMID 20336068.
  • Green R. E., Krause J.; et al. (2010). "A draft sequence and preliminary analysis of the Neandertal genome". Science. 328 (5979): 710–722. doi:10.1126/science.1188021. PMC 5100745. PMID 20448178.


  1. Michael Bolus: Laudatio: Dr. Johannes Krause, Preisträger des zwölften Tübinger Förderpreises für Ältere Urgeschichte und Quartärökologie (pdf; 155 kB), In: Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für Urgeschichte, Band 19, 2010, S. 7–10.
  2. Ghosh, Pallab (2010-12-22). "Ancient humans, dubbed 'Denisovans', interbred with us". BBC News. Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  3. J. Krause, Q. Fu, J. M. Good, B. Viola, M. V. Shunkov, A. P. Derevianko, S. Pääbo (2010). "The complete mitochondrial DNA genome of an unknown hominin from southern Siberia". Nature. 464 (7290): 894–897. doi:10.1038/nature08976. PMID 20336068.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  4. J. Krause, C. Lalueza-Fox, L. Orlando, W. Enard, R. E. Green, H. A. Burbano, J.-J. Hublin, C. Hänni, J. Fortea, M. de la Rasilla, J. Bertranpetit, A. Rosas, S. Pääbo (2007). "The derived FOXP2 variant of modern humans was shared with Neandertals". Current Biology. 17 (21): 1908–1912. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2007.10.008. PMID 17949978.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  5. M. Inman (October 18, 2007). "Neandertals Had Same "Language Gene" as Modern Humans". National Geographic News.
  6. Kirsten I. Bos, Verena J. Schuenemann, G. Brian Golding, Hernán A. Burbano, Nicholas Waglechner, Brian K. Coombes, Joseph B. McPhee, Sharon N. DeWitte, Matthias Meyer, Sarah Schmedes, James Wood, David J. D. Earn, D. Ann Herring, Peter Bauer, Hendrik N. Poinar, Johannes Krause (2011). "A draft genome of Yersinia pestis from victims of the Black Death". Nature. 478 (7370): 506–510. doi:10.1038/nature10549. PMC 3690193. PMID 21993626.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  7. V. J. Schuenemann, K. Bos, S. DeWitte, S. Schmedes, J. Jamieson, A. Mittnik, S. Forrest, B. K. Coombes, J. W. Wood, D. J. D. Earn, W. White, J. Krause, H. N. Poinar (2011). "Targeted enrichment of ancient pathogens yielding the pPCP1 plasmid of Yersinia pestis from victims of the Black Death". PNAS. 108 (38): E746–E752. doi:10.1073/pnas.1105107108. PMC 3179067. PMID 21876176.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  8. V. J. Schuenemann, P. Singh, T. A. Mendum, B. Krause-Kyora, G. Jäger, K. I. Bos, A. Herbig, C. Economou, A. Benjak, P. Busso, A. Nebel, J. L. Boldsen, A. Kjellström, H. Wu, G. R. Stewart, G. M. Taylor, P. Bauer, O. Y.-C. Lee, H. H.T. Wu, D. E. Minnikin, G. S. Besra, K. Tucker, S. Roffey, S. O. Sow, S. T. Cole, K. Nieselt, J. Krause (2013). "Genome-Wide Comparison of Medieval and Modern Mycobacterium leprae". Science. 341 (6142): 179–183. doi:10.1126/science.1238286. PMID 23765279.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  9. Wade, L. (2017). "Egyptian mummy DNA, at last". Science. 356 (6341): 894. doi:10.1126/science.356.6341.894. PMID 28572344.
  10. V. J. Schuenemann, A. Peltzer, B. Welte, W. P. van Pelt, M. Molak, A. Furtwängler, C. Urban, E. Reiter, K. Nieselt, B. Teßmann, M. Francken, K. Harvati, W. Haak, S. Schiffels & J. Krause (2017). "Ancient Egyptian mummy genomes suggest an increase of Sub-Saharan African ancestry in post-Roman periods". Nature Communications. 15694: 15694. doi:10.1038/ncomms15694. PMC 5459999. PMID 28556824.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)


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