Friday, 15 February 2013

Tracing a Royal Y Chromosome



Researchers last week developed DNA evidence to help identify the remains of a skeletonfound under a parking lot in Leicester, England, as those of Richard III, the last English king to die in battle, in 1485. But the researchers’ work is only half-done. They have made a strong but not conclusive link through the female line, and are now turning to the male side for corroboration.

Turi King, a geneticist at the University of Leicester, found a match in the mitochondrial DNA extracted from the parking lot skeleton and that of two living descendants of Anne of York, Richard III’s sister. About 1 percent of the English population carries this type. Mitochondrial DNA is bequeathed exclusively through the female line.

Chris Tyler-Smith, a geneticist at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute near Cambridge, said the mitochondrial DNA type identified by Dr. King was “rare enough to be interesting, but not rare enough to be conclusive.”        

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