Genetic tests confirm remains are those of King Richard III

Richard III

Remains found beneath a parking lot in Leceister, England, are those of King Richard III, genetic tests confirm.

Univ. of Leicester

DNA evidence has finally confirmed that remains found beneath a parking lot in Leicester, England, are those of King Richard III. The genetic analysis suggests that the king had blond hair and blue eyes, a description that matches portraits of the 15th century monarch.

Comparing the skeleton’s genetic material with samples from two of Richard III’s living relatives also revealed a perfect match in mitochondrial DNA. However, there was no Y-chromosome match between the skeletal remains and five males who were considered relatives of the king based on genealogy. 

This genetic evidence lays to rest a 527-year missing person case but raises questions about whether several kings, including Henry IV and possibly the Tudors, had legitimate claims to the throne, researchers write December 2 in Nature Communications.

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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