Word today of new DNA results for Richard III. In 2012, scientists extracted genetic material from newly discovered skeletal remains unearthed beneath a Leicester parking lot. The results revealed a 99.999% probability that the body was that of the Plantagenet king Richard III, interred at the former site of Greyfriars Abbey after his death in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.
Interesting new results of continuing analysis of the DNA reveal that genetic material passed down on the maternal side matches that of living relatives, but genetic information passed down on the male side does not.
Professor Kevin Schurer of the University of Leicester notes, “We may have solved one historical puzzle, but in so doing, we opened up a whole new one.”
However, given the wealth of other details linking the body to Richard III, the scientists conclude that infidelity is the most likely explanation.
The researchers took all the information linking the body to Richard III and carried out a statistical test known as Bayesian analysis to determine the probability that the body was indeed his – or not. Despite the absence of a male-line genetic match, the results came back with a 99.999% probability that the body was that of the Plantagenet king. Commenting on the study, Prof Martin Richards, a population geneticist at the University of Huddersfield, told BBC News: “The work seems to have been done with great care and looks very convincing to me.” He said Richard III’s maternal DNA type was very rare, and carried an additional genetic variant not previously seen before that “seems to be unique amongst a database that includes several thousand Europeans.”
Professor Richards of the University of Huddersfield also notes, given the apparent certainty of the body’s identity, “the lack of any match for the Y-chromosome lineage is quite curious and suggests an intriguing new avenue for dynastic DNA studies.”
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