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Richard III - Case closed after 529 years

last modified Dec 02, 2014 08:55 PM
DNA and genealogical study confirms identity of remains found in Leicester and uncovers new truths about his appearance and Plantagenet linineage.


An international research team, including Peter Forster (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Reserch), and led by University of Cambridge graduate Tori King, has provided overwhelming evidence that the skeleton discoverd under a car park in Leicester represents the remains of King Richard III - closing what is probably the oldest forensic case solved to date.

The findings, published online in Nature Communications today, confirms identity to the point of 99.999%, at its most conservative. 

The team collected DNA from living relatives of Richard III and analysed several genetic markers, including the complete mitochondrial genomes, inherited through the maternal line, and Y-chromosomal markers, inherited through the paternal line, from both the skeletal remains and the living relatives.

The researchers also used genetic markers to determine hair and eye colour of Richard III and found that with probably blond hair and almost certainly blue eyes he looked most similar to his depiction in one of the earliest portraits of him that survived, that in the Society of Antiquaries in London.

The research team now plans to sequence the complete genome of Richard III to learn more about the last English king to die in battle.


Richard III’s skull and skeleton. University of Leicester/Carl Vivian


Posted 02/12/2014





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