Thursday, October 14, 2010

Genetic analysis of the presumptive blood from Louis XVI, king of France

Articles in Press
FSI Genetics

Genetic analysis of the presumptive blood from Louis XVI, king of France

Carles Lalueza-FoxaCorresponding Author Informationemail address, Elena Giglia, Carla Binid, Francesc Calafellab, Donata Luisellic, Susi Pelottid, Davide Pettenerc

Received 9 July 2010; received in revised form 14 August 2010; accepted 15 September 2010. published online 12 October 2010. Corrected Proof


A text on a pyrographically decorated gourd dated to 1793 explains that it contains a handkerchief dipped with the blood of Louis XVI, king of France, after his execution. Biochemical analyses confirmed that the material contained within the gourd was blood. The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) hypervariable region 1 (HVR1) and 2 (HVR2), the Y-chromosome STR profile, some autosomal STR markers and a SNP in HERC2 gene associated to blue eyes, were retrieved, and some results independently replicated in two different laboratories. The uncommon mtDNA sequence retrieved can be attributed to a N1b haplotype, while the novel Y-chromosome haplotype belongs to haplogroup G2a. The HERC2 gene showed that the subject analyzed was a heterozygote, which is compatible with a blue-eyed person, as king Louis XVI was. To confirm the identity of the subject, an analysis of the dried heart of his son, Louis XVII, could be undertaken.

Keywords: Louis XVI, Identification, Ancient DNA, Mitochondrial DNA, Y-chromosome, Eye colour

  • a Institut de Biologia Evolutiva, CSIC-UPF, Dr. Aiguader 88, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
  • b CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Spain
  • c Dipartimento diBiologia, Evoluzionistica Sperimentale, Area di Antropologia, Universitàdi, Bologna, Via Selmi 3, 40126 Bologna, Italy
  • d Dipartimento di Medicina e Salute Pubblica, Sezione di Medicina Legale, Università di Bologna, Via Irnerio 49, 40126 Bologna, Italy

Corresponding Author InformationCorresponding author. Tel.: +34 933160845.

PII: S1872-4973(10)00160-2

© 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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