Genomes of Richard III and his proven relative to be sequenced

Posted by ap507 at Feb 11, 2014 06:00 PM |
Richard III to be first ancient individual of known identity to have genome sequenced

The genomes of King Richard III and one of his family’s direct living descendants are to be sequenced in a project funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Leverhulme Trust and Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, Emeritus Professor at the University of Leicester who discovered genetic fingerprinting. The project will be led by Dr Turi King (pictured) of the Department of Genetics at the University.

The aim is to shed new light on the ancestry and health of the last king of England to die in battle, and provide a complete archive of information that historians, scientists and the public will be able to access and use.

Dr Turi King and colleagues plan to sequence his genome and make it freely accessible as a resource to researchers wishing to analyse and interrogate its genetic information.

Richard III will be the first ancient individual of known identity to have his genome sequenced. This will be carried out in collaboration with Professor Michael Hofreiter at the University of Potsdam.

In addition to sequencing the remains of Richard III, Dr King and colleagues will also sequence one of his living relatives, Michael Ibsen. An initial analysis of the DNA of his mitochondria – the batteries that power the cells in our bodies – which is passed down the maternal line, confirmed the genealogical evidence that Ibsen and Richard III shared the same lineage.

This new project will allow researchers to look for any other segments of DNA that these distant relatives share.

Listen and watch Dr Turi King discussing her research below: