Analysis of Copernicus putative remains support identity

Jul 07, 2009
This Copernicus book in Museum Gustavianum, Uppsala University, contained some hairs that were DNA analyzed. Credit: Marie Allen

Swedish and polish researchers now publish results from the analysis of the putative remains of Copernicus. A DNA-analysis of shed of hairs found in a book from Museum Gustavianum, Uppsala University, was one interesting piece in the project.

The efforts to identify the remains of Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), found under the cathedral in Frombork, was made in a collaborative project between Swedish and Polish scientists in a team consisting of archaeologists, anthropologists and geneticists. The results is published this week in the prestigious journal PNAS ().

At Uppsala University a analysis was performed of shed hairs found in a book owned by Copernicus for decades, and now kept in Museum Gustavianum at Uppsala University.

"The analysis of several hairs resulted in interpretable profiles for four of the hairs. Of these, two of the hairs have the same profile as the putative remains of Copernicus", says Marie Allen, researcher at Uppsala University.

The Uppsala researchers also made tests of a tooth as well as from the putative remains of Copernicus. Results from the analysis of the remains from the Institute of Forensic Research in Krakow and the Museum and institute of zoology in Warsaw and the Uppsala laboratory were identical.

"Although these results points towards the materials being from the same individual, there is a probability of random match", says Marie Allen.

The DNA material in this case was limited and also degraded. Therefore, a so called mitochondrial DNA test was performed, which yields a relatively low evidentiary value. This test is commonly used in criminal investigations, but as circumstantial evidence to strengthen the case.

"The DNA results should be looked at and evaluated in the light of, and together with the information from other disciplines as the archaeological, anthropological and facial reconstruction data", says Marie Allen.

Source: Uppsala University (news : web)

Explore further: Environmental pollutants make worms susceptible to cold

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Identical twins not as identical as believed

Feb 15, 2008

Contrary to our previous beliefs, identical twins are not genetically identical. This surprising finding is presented by American, Swedish, and Dutch scientists in a study being published today in the prestigious journal ...

A promising step towards more effective hydrogen storage

Jun 16, 2008

An international research team led by Swedish Professor Rajeev Ahuja, Uppsala University, has demonstrated an atomistic mechanism of hydrogen release in magnesium nanoparticles – a potential hydrogen storage material. The ...

Enzyme necessary for DNA synthesis can also erase DNA

Jun 08, 2009

In this week's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, PNAS, Uppsala University scientists describe a new mechanism behind an important process that causes a rapid reduction of DNA in the chromosomes of bac ...

Researchers publish DNA identification of czar's children

Feb 25, 2009

Cutting edge science has finally put to rest a 90-year-old mystery that involved nobility, revolution, murder and the long-romanticized story of a child's escape from the firing squad. Genomic analysis performed at the University ...

Potassium leads to better hydrogen-storage materials

Apr 15, 2009

An international research team, including Professor Rajeev Ahuja's research group at Uppsala University, has shown that small additions of potassium drastically improve the hydrogen-storage properties of certain types of ...

Recommended for you

Environmental pollutants make worms susceptible to cold

Sep 19, 2014

Some pollutants are more harmful in a cold climate than in a hot, because they affect the temperature sensitivity of certain organisms. Now researchers from Danish universities have demonstrated how this ...

A new quality control pathway in the cell

Sep 18, 2014

Proteins are important building blocks in our cells and each cell contains millions of different protein molecules. They are involved in everything from structural to regulatory aspects in the cell. Proteins are constructed ...

User comments : 0