October 09, 2013

House of Bourbon belonged to Y-haplogroup R1b1b2a1a1b* (R-Z381*)

Thus concludes a new study which conflicts with the identification of blood from a handkerchief presumed to be from the execution of Louis XVI and the presumed head of Henri IV.

It is nice that this study was made possible by the co-operation of three patrilineal Bourbon descendants. I've mentioned before that the European nobility is an untapped resource for historical/genetic studies, as they can often document much longer lines of descent than most others, so it's good to see that at least some descendants of kings are willing to contribute to this kind of research.


European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication 9 October 2013; doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2013.211

Genetic genealogy reveals true Y haplogroup of House of Bourbon contradicting recent identification of the presumed remains of two French Kings

Maarten H D Larmuseau et al.

Genetic analysis strongly increases the opportunity to identify skeletal remains or other biological samples from historical figures. However, validation of this identification is essential and should be done by DNA typing of living relatives. Based on the similarity of a limited set of Y-STRs, a blood sample and a head were recently identified as those belonging respectively to King Louis XVI and his paternal ancestor King Henry IV. Here, we collected DNA samples from three living males of the House of Bourbon to validate the since then controversial identification of these remains. The three living relatives revealed the Bourbon’s Y-chromosomal variant on a high phylogenetic resolution for several members of the lineage between Henry IV and Louis XVI. This ‘true’ Bourbon’s variant is different from the published Y-STR profiles of the blood as well as of the head. The earlier identifications of these samples can therefore not be validated. Moreover, matrilineal genealogical data revealed that the published mtDNA sequence of the head was also different from the one of a series of relatives. This therefore leads to the conclusion that the analyzed samples were not from the French kings. Our study once again demonstrated that in order to realize an accurate genetic identification of historical remains DNA typing of living persons, who are paternally or maternally related with the presumed donor of the samples, is required.

Link

25 comments:

mooreisbetter said...

Whoa. The writers are just a little bit extreme here in their certainty.

Taken to the extreme, scientists should never type old samples (say, of mummies), they should just type their descendants (us). If you see the fallacy in that, you see the fallacy in this study.

If you have an extant, contemporaneous sample, that is relatively well-identified, well, I would take that as pretty valid.

All it takes is one out-of-wedlock event (one bastard in the line), and the entire thing gets thrown off. Before you say, "that's nuts," I remind you not to apply modern values to times of old.

Producing heirs was critical to an entire family, and if a family couldn't do it (impotent King, whatever), it could mean death for the queen and an entire new regime for a country. Families would turn to others not just for love or lust then, but also for practical reasons.

I've seen very high estimates for bastards in royal lines.

Thus, these writers can't necessarily be sure either.



mooreisbetter said...

And here is something not mentioned in the new study:

"But Lalueza-Fox and his French historian collaborator Philippe Charlier think that the living relatives all trace back to Philippe I, who was homosexual and thus perhaps unlikely to have actually fathered the next generation. “It seems likely that what we have here is just a case of false paternity within a royal family,” says Lalueza-Fox, who sticks by his original work. “Moreover, we should be cautious with the genealogies claimed by people. These are often less accurate than we may think.”"

Grey said...

"I've mentioned before that the European nobility is an untapped resource for historical/genetic studies, as they can often document much longer lines of descent than most others"

good point

Piero Sinclair said...

Apparently hardly anyone is Z381*, perhaps no-one. Could this be a group downstream of Z381. (This is part of U106).

Wing Genealogist said...

It is almost certain the Bourbons actually fall somewhere under Z381.

According to the the R1b-U106 Haplogroup project http://www.familytreedna.com/public/U106/default.aspx

Everyone who is Z381 is also positive for one of its three known subclades: Z301, Z156, or (the much smaller) M323

Ray

Greengerg said...

@mooreisbetter: If I am reading the chart correctly, the objection due to Philippe I, Duke of Orleans' homosexuality is irrelevant because the Spanish descendent at far bottom right of the chart does not descend from Philip; his match with the other two is confirmation of their older genealogical relationship. The last common ancestor of the tested descendents, according to the chart, would be Louis XIII. It seems parsimonious to conclude then that either the head and handkerchief are invalid, or that there was a nonpaternity event for Louis XIII or his father.

Unknown said...

Hold on! Proving DNA by someone's "descendants" is a risky business. Particularly because these royals could not always be trusted about with whom they were mothering or fathering. This would not work in a paternity suit precisely because it assumes a fact in question.

I'm sorry, but this piece of research is fundamentally questionable.

Darrell Edgell said...

The information/testing is validated by multiple lines of descent who match...thus the questionability is thrown out and not a possibility. Are you all newbies to genetic genealogy?

Unknown said...

That won't work, Darrell. Multiple lines of descent do not prove anything but that the lines are related. It certainly does not prove decent from a particular ancestor. It proves decent from SOME ancestor. The ancestor may or may not be who they claim him to be. Here we have some strong contrary evidence in the what would appear to be the actual DNA of the person in question. That is what we call direct evidence. And it normally still trumps the indirect evidence of people claiming descent -- especially because their claims are fundamentally hearsay and nothing they can have direct knowledge of.

Ebizur said...

Unknown wrote,

"That won't work, Darrell. Multiple lines of descent do not prove anything but that the lines are related. It certainly does not prove decent from a particular ancestor. It proves decent from SOME ancestor. The ancestor may or may not be who they claim him to be. Here we have some strong contrary evidence in the what would appear to be the actual DNA of the person in question. That is what we call direct evidence. And it normally still trumps the indirect evidence of people claiming descent -- especially because their claims are fundamentally hearsay and nothing they can have direct knowledge of."

The forgery of "relics" is an ancient and widespread practice because there is always someone who a counterfeiter can dupe into paying great sums of money for one of his wares.

How is the identification of that severed head and blood on a handkerchief as belonging to members of the House of Bourbon any less "hearsay" than the pedigrees of these living men?

Grognard said...

Since the head and hanky agree and both are as bona fide as such artifacts can be, I find it hard to believe this result is correct unless there's something very wrong about the procedures used on ancient y-dna that gives bad results.

Over enough time even babies accidentally switched at birth becomes an issue.

ManGod said...

"Moreover, matrilineal genealogical data revealed that the published mtDNA sequence of the head was also different from the one of a series of relatives."

We shouldn't assume the head and the blood on the hanky are from Louis XVI. For all anyone knows it might have been switched with that of another victim. Who wouldn't want the head of European royalty? It's the ultimate collectible.

Raimo Kangasniemi said...

I think the claims that Philippe of Orleans would not have fathered the children from his marriages because he was "homosexual" is anachronistic. Based on evidence, his sexual preference seems indeed to have been on his own gender, but the idea of homosexual male who has sex only with males is very modern; Philippe's marriages were marriages of political convenience. Neither lust nor romance played a role in them. Basically, most "homosexual" men in previous historical eras were "bisexual", if only to fulfill the expected family and social roles; most of them would have been unlikely even to contemplate anything else. For Philippe not to have had sex with his wifes could have also caused an international political scandal.

Crimson Guard said...

You should check this, its not his head:

http://www.livescience.com/40367-french-king-dna-mystery.html

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/10/13/3279494/dna-study-mummified-head-didnt.html

Creative said...

Or a smaller family lineage was assimilated into a larger family at one point in time. The claim that they had some sort of mystical ancestor “female or male” would have probably been enough for such an event, especially if there was something to gain for both sides.

Or as already said, the head may have bin swapped for some reason.
The Gruesome History of Eating Corpses as Medicine

shenandoah said...

How is R1b1a2 related to that? Because, I'm reasonably sure that it is related somehow (cousins, maybe).

Paul Williams said...

Fascinating and amazing that 2 individuals from 200 years apart get souvenired by the collectors and these individuals come from such a rare dna line G2a3* even with a healed facial wound which Henry would have received in 1594.

JonNormandin said...

Artificial insemination was indeed practiced in the past. They called it immaculate conception meaning conception without the act. The essence of a man would be collected in a piece of linen and inserted into the proper place in the woman and pregnancy often followed. The problem is, who were the donors.

Kristin Harris said...

If I remember correctly the descendants that were tested actually all descend from Louis XIII. That means that any type of adultery in the line would have had to be committed by Marie de Medici. All of the descendants of Louis XIII test in R1b1 so that is his DNA. I remember reading that the mitochondrial DNA from the skull was less certain so it probably should not have been published as it could have been from someone who handled the skull at some point in time. They apparently got multiple lines. The Y chromosome was in haplogroup G as was the handkerchief. I do think the DNA of the Bourbon Kings is R1b1 and that some sort relic scam was committed. Maybe even by the same family.

Bjorn Witlox said...

I match about 20 strs

Robert Delgado said...

The simplest method to solve this problem would be to test the remains of Charles X and Louis XiX.

Robert Delgado said...

Why not test Charles X or Louis Xviiii?

teltalheart said...

I would like to see the results of a test on Louis XIX. As I am apparently R-Z381 Y- DNA (FTDNA).
- teltalheart

Danny Petro said...

I do not see how that DNA can be all that rare since my male side is r-z381 and my female side is U5a1b, surely there are more people living with this ancestry, they have merely not been tested yet.

Danny Petro said...

I received my results from the National Geographic Geno 2.0 program. Genetics has always fascinated me, among other things.