February 14, 2013

More King Richard III Mania

From the NYT:
Tracing a Royal Y Chromosome 
Researchers last week developed DNA evidence to help identify the remains of a skeleton found 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.
... 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.”

Tyler-Smith is the Genghis Khan's Y chromosome guy. I scooped Wade on Tyler-Smith's discovery because Wade was tied up with the exploding space shuttle.
The Leicester team plans to investigate the paternal DNA of the remains. Kevin Schürer, a historian at the university, has already found four living descendants of John of Gaunt, the son of Edward III, who was Richard III’s great-great-grandfather. Dr. King has found that their Y chromosome, which is carried only by men, match, establishing that they are all true descendants of John of Gaunt. 
The Y chromosome DNA from the skeleton is very degraded, but Dr. King said she had found that she could amplify it and hopes to get enough to make a match with the living descendants.


Geoff Matthews said...

They claim that this proves that they are descended from John of Gaunt, but why no John of Gaunt's father, or grandfather, or great-grandfather, or . . .?

How much degredation occurs on the Y chromosome so that we can differentiate between the descendents of brothers?

Anonymous said...

The reason that they may have chosen to work with people descended from John of Gaunt is that there are well-documented lines of direct paternal descent. The Duke of Beaufort would be one person with such a well-documented connection.