February 27, 2009

Y chromosome of Tsar Nicholas II

The Y-chromosome haplotype of the Tsar appears to belong to haplogroup R1b. Interestingly, they were able to get the Tsar's DNA from a bloodstained shirt:
In 1890–1891 Nicholas II, then-heir to the throne was on an around-the-world voyage. On 11 May 1891, during his visit to Osaka, Japan, he was attacked and injured in an apparent assassination attempt. The escort policemen swung at Nicholas II’s head with a saber; however the following blow was parried by Prince George of Greece and Denmark who was accompanying Nicholas II. Although the wound was not life-threatening, Nicholas II was severely bleeding and a long scar remained on the right side of his forehead.

Interestingly (not mentioned in the article), Nicholas II and his savior Prince George shared patrilineal ancestry, as they were both descended from Frederick I of Denmark. Thus, it seems (barring any "accident") that the dynasty founded by King George I of the Hellenes would also belong in haplogroup R1b.

In this paper, they were able to test descendants of Nicholas I of Russia, so the line appears to be secure at least that far in the past.

The supporting information is online. The mtDNA of the Tsarina Alexandra and the children ("Queen Victoria type") is:

16111T 16357C 16519C

and of the Tsar:

16126C 16294T 16296T 16519C with either 16169C or 16169T

I will look up the haplogroup prediction when I have time, but feel free to post in the comments.

PNAS doi:10.1073/pnas.0811190106

Genomic identification in the historical case of the Nicholas II royal family

Evgeny I. Rogaev et al.


Accurate unambiguous identification of ancient or historical specimens can potentially be achieved by DNA analysis. The controversy surrounding the fate of the last Russian Emperor, Nicholas II, and his family has persisted, in part, because the bodies of 2 children, Prince Alexei and 1 of his sisters, have not been found. A grave discovered in 1991 contained remains putatively identified as those of the Russian Royal family. However, not all family members were represented. Here, we report the results of genomic analyses of new specimens, the human remains of 2 burned skeletons exhumed from a grave discovered in July 2007, and the results of a comprehensive genomic analysis of remains from the 1991 discovery. Additionally, ≈117 years old archival blood specimens from Nicholas II were obtained and genotyped, which provided critical material for the specific determination of individual identities and kinship identifications. Results of genotypic analyses of damaged historical specimens were evaluated alongside samples from descendants of both paternal and maternal lineages of the European Royal families, and the results conclusively demonstrate that the recently found remains belong to children of Nicholas II: Prince Alexei and his sister. The results of our studies provide unequivocal evidence that the remains of Nicholas II and his entire family, including all 5 children, have been identified. We demonstrate that convergent analysis of complete mitochondrial genome sequences combined with nuclear DNA profiles is an efficient and conclusive method for individual and kinship identification of specimens obtained from old historic relics.



Ebizur said...

The attack on Nicholas II of Russia to which this author has referred is the so-called "Ōtsu incident" (大津事件, cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%8Ctsu_incident), the motivation for which is still unclear. A cloth that had been used for first aid after the attack was previously tested for DNA, but at that time, researchers were not able to obtain reliable results for anything except the blood type.

Maju said...

Read the header at blogspot reader and was betting: R1b. Safe bet, I know: it's the most common haplogroup in Europe but then I didn't still know the late Romanovs were of Danish ancestry, was a heartbeat. Guess the early Romanovs were R1a with great likehood as they were native Russian.

Unknown said...

By Patrilineal descent, Prince Phillip of UK and therefore Price Charles would also also share common Y chromosomes if the genealogies we have are correct...

Major Tom said...

All the ancestors of Nicholas II were germans. There was some doubt about the paternity of his grand grand grandfather Paul I, but we have to think that it was really Pietro III and not Sergej Saltykov, the Catherin the great lover.

AdygheChabadi said...

As for the MtDNA of the Tsar, it is predicted as Haplogroup T. I used both 16169C and 16169T in separate predictions...Both were predicted as MtDNA Haplogroup T.

Sample: 16126C 16294T 16296T 16519C 16169C Haplogroup: T

Sample: 16126C 16294T 16296T 16519C 16169T Haplogroup: T

As for the Czarina:
Sample: 16111T 16357C 16519C Haplogroup: H

AdygheChabadi said...

As for the Y-Haplogroup of Czar or Tsar Nicholas II,

Haplogroups and probabilities are as follows:
R1b-S.Irish =>29% R1b-Ub =>27% R1b-IrishIII =>26% R1b-S26 =>4% R1b-S28 =>4% R1b-Frisian3 =>3% R1b-Frisian4 =>2% R1b-C.Europe =>2% R1b-S21-Scottish =>1% R1b-Frisian =>1%

Shawn Sinclair said...

We sgould chat.
Shawn Sinclair

Anonymous said...

Maju, the initial Romanoffs thought of themselves as descending from native Prussians, so N1c1 is also quite likely.

Maju said...


They claimed such ancestry but it is totally unclear why. My grandfather's family also claimed direct ascendancy from Hector of Troy and Pope Pontianus. Meh!

In the Middle Ages aristocrats loved to have their heralds imagining the weirdest of genealogies in order to reinforce their apparently weak egos.

Anonymous said...

What you are saying has its' place in history.

But on the other side, it is already proven by DNA that some Russian aristocrats really had foreign origin.

Rurik has been proven to come from Scandinavia.

Alexander Pushkin's descendant has a haplotype common for Poland, and they actually considered their progenitor Ratsha to come "из немец", which could mean "from foreigners" or "from Germans".

The Scherbatchioff family have considered their progenitor to come from the Golden Horde, and he has haplogroup G, which is more likely for the Golden Horde, than for Russia.

Ballardsfield said...

I am a P310 my markers are reare and match all of Tsar Nicholas

Frederic von Ebert said...

Czar Nicholas 11 inherited a rare mutation as did his brother Georgie.

Czar Nicholas DNA also with his rare mutation when born inherited visible DNA markers and passed the same on to his son Alexi. The same inherited visible markers was also inherited by his first cousin Wilhelm 11. It is my understanding that both Nicholas 11 and Kaiser Wilhelm 11 were cousins by their mothers, both sisters from the Danish royals.



Frederic von Ebert said...

Nicholas 11 and his first cousin Wilhelm 11 shared a rare visible genetic marker that matched the other I believe they were cousins because both their mothers were sisters of Danish Royal line.



kathy said...

why are the visible markings such a secret? What are the rare visible genetic markers?