Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The blood preserved in the preserved relic pumpkin did not belong to Louis XVI

Date:
April 24, 2014
Source:
Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)
Summary:
The results of an international study indicate that the DNA recovered from the inside of a pumpkin, attributed so far to the French King Louis XVI, does not actually belong to the monarch, guillotined in 1793. Complete genome sequencing suggests that blood remains correspond to a male with brown eyes, instead of blue as Louis XVI had, and shorter.

The blood preserved in the pumpkin did not belong to Louis XVI. A study reveals the complete genome of the DNA recovered from a relic that was attributed to the French King.
Credit: Image courtesy of CSIC

CSIC researcher Carles Lalueza-Fox, from the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (a joint centre of CSIC and Pompeu Fabra University-UPF), explains: "When the Y chromosome of three living Bourbons was decoded and we saw that it did not match with the DNA recovered from the pumpkin in 2010, we decided to sequence the complete genome and to make a functional interpretation in order to see if the blood could actually belong to Louis XVI."

The functional genome analysis was based on two main points, the genealogical line and the physical appearance, and in both cases the result was negative. According to the historical records that go back to his 16 great-great grandparents, Louis XVI had a very heterogeneous genealogical line in which central European ancestors predominated, mainly from the area that today is Germany and Poland, while the genome recovered from the pumpkin belongs to an individual with a clear French and Italian component. In terms of physical appearance, the sequenced DNA points to an average height in France at the time and brown eyes, while portraits and historical accounts describe Louis XVI as the tallest man on the court and with blue eyes.

Lalueza-Fox adds: "Beyond the anecdotal fact whether or not the DNA belongs to Louis XVI, we present here the first genome from a recent historical period. The techniques we used will be useful in forensic studies, in which more than recovering some informative genetic markers, it will be able to work with complete genomes."

According to the chronicles of the time, there were many citizens who went to the scaffold in which Louis XVI was executed to dip their handkerchiefs in the blood of the monarch and thus save a historic memory. In 2010, a study coordinated by Lalueza-Fox analyzed the blood from one of these handkerchiefs, which had stained the inside of the pumpkin, decorated with portraits of the protagonists of the French Revolution, in which it had been kept. That study confirmed that the blood belonged to a European man whose paternal lineage was very hard to find in current genetic databases.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Iñigo Olalde, Federico Sánchez-Quinto, Debayan Datta, Urko M. Marigorta, Charleston W. K. Chiang, Juan Antonio Rodríguez, Marcos Fernández-Callejo, Irene González, Magda Montfort, Laura Matas-Lalueza, Sergi Civit, Donata Luiselli, Philippe Charlier, Davide Pettener, Oscar Ramírez, Arcadi Navarro, Heinz Himmelbauer, Tomàs Marquès-Bonet, Carles Lalueza-Fox. Genomic analysis of the blood attributed to Louis XVI (1754–1793), king of France. Scientific Reports, 2014; 4 DOI: 10.1038/srep04666

Cite This Page:

Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). "The blood preserved in the preserved relic pumpkin did not belong to Louis XVI." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140424113303.htm>.
Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). (2014, April 24). The blood preserved in the preserved relic pumpkin did not belong to Louis XVI. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140424113303.htm
Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). "The blood preserved in the preserved relic pumpkin did not belong to Louis XVI." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140424113303.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) — A ceremony marking 50 years since Japan launched its Shinkansen bullet train was held on Wednesday in Tokyo. The latest model can travel from Tokyo to Osaka, a distance of 319 miles, in two hours and 25 minutes. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battle of New Orleans Cannon Gets New Carriage

Battle of New Orleans Cannon Gets New Carriage

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) — A Spanish cannon used in the Battle of New Orleans and weighing nearly 3 tons was lowered Tuesday by pulleys, chains and muscle onto a new gun carriage like one that might have held it once aboard a navy ship. (Sept. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
2,000 Year Old Pre-Inca Cloak on Display in Lima

2,000 Year Old Pre-Inca Cloak on Display in Lima

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) — A 2,000 year-old Pre-Inca cloak that is believed to represent an agricultural calendar of the Paracas culture is on display in Lima. Duration: 00:39 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Original Mozart Sonata Manuscript Found in Budapest

Original Mozart Sonata Manuscript Found in Budapest

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) — Considered lost for over two centuries, the original manuscript of one of the most famous works of Mozart's Sonata in A major has been uncovered in a library in Budapest. Duration: 01:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins