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."

Related Articles


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 December 20, 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 December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Bring Player Pianos Back to Life

Researchers Bring Player Pianos Back to Life

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) — Stanford University wants to unlock the secrets of the player piano. Researchers are restoring and studying self-playing pianos and the music rolls that recorded major composers performing their own work. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Domestication Might've Been Bad For Horses

Domestication Might've Been Bad For Horses

Newsy (Dec. 16, 2014) — A group of scientists looked at the genetics behind the domestication of the horse and showed how human manipulation changed horses' DNA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet Manuscripts to Go on Sale

Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet Manuscripts to Go on Sale

AFP (Dec. 16, 2014) — A collection of rare manuscripts by composers Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet are due to go on sale at auction on December 17. Duration: 00:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Old Ship Records to Shed Light on Arctic Ice Loss

Old Ship Records to Shed Light on Arctic Ice Loss

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 15, 2014) — Researchers are looking to the past to gain a clearer picture of what the future holds for ice in the Arctic. A project to analyse and digitize ship logs dating back to the 1850's aims to lengthen the timeline of recorded ice data. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
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