December 02, 2014

Remains of Richard III identified

From the paper:
Four of the modern relatives were found to belong to Y-haplogroup R1b-U152 (x L2, Z36, Z56, M160, M126 and Z192)13, 14 with STR haplotypes being consistent with them comprising a single patrilinear group. One individual (Somerset 3) was found to belong to haplogroup I-M170 (x M253, M223) and therefore could not be a patrilinear relative of the other four within the time span considered, indicating that a false-paternity event had occurred within the last four generations. 
In contrast to the Y-haplotypes of the putative modern relatives, Skeleton 1 belongs to haplogroup G-P287, with a corresponding Y-STR haplotype. Thus, the putative modern patrilinear relatives of Richard III are not genetically related to Skeleton 1 through the male line over the time period considered. However, this is not surprising, given an estimated average false-paternity rate of ~1–2% (refs 12, 17, 18). The putative modern relatives and Richard III are related through a male relative (Edward III) four generations up from Richard III (Fig. 1a and Supplementary Fig. 2), and a false-paternity event could have happened in any of the 19 generations separating Richard III and the 5th Duke of Beaufort, on either branch of the genealogy descending from Edward III. Indeed, even with a conservative false-paternity rate18 (see Supplementary Methods) the chance of a false-paternity occuring in this number of generations is 16%.

Nature Communications 5, Article number: 5631 doi:10.1038/ncomms6631

Identification of the remains of King Richard III

Turi E. King et al.


In 2012, a skeleton was excavated at the presumed site of the Grey Friars friary in Leicester, the last-known resting place of King Richard III. Archaeological, osteological and radiocarbon dating data were consistent with these being his remains. Here we report DNA analyses of both the skeletal remains and living relatives of Richard III. We find a perfect mitochondrial DNA match between the sequence obtained from the remains and one living relative, and a single-base substitution when compared with a second relative. Y-chromosome haplotypes from male-line relatives and the remains do not match, which could be attributed to a false-paternity event occurring in any of the intervening generations. DNA-predicted hair and eye colour are consistent with Richard’s appearance in an early portrait. We calculate likelihood ratios for the non-genetic and genetic data separately, and combined, and conclude that the evidence for the remains being those of Richard III is overwhelming.



Nick Patterson (Broad) said...

I think that questioning the legitimacy of the British Sovereign
is treason. The Tudors would
have known what do with researchers
in this area...

Grognard said...

Another ancient royalty DNA that shows up as G with purported descendents who are r1b. I have to wonder if there is some error in sequencing with this ancient DNA. They are finding a highly unusual amount of G in ancient DNA that is not even that old, when it is pretty rare today.

Unknown said...

this is very interesting. both richard's mtdna (j1c2c)(only 4500 years old iirc) and his y dna are rare for england and for northern europe generally.

shame, we aren't able to trace his mtdna further back than his great grandmother, katherine roet, john of guant's longtime mistress and last wife. unfortunately she was so low born, we don't even know who her mother was. seems so odd that a english commoner in the 15th century wouldn't have had local/reginal lineage.

his y dna seems pretty compelling to be the legitimate line, given its rarity and the fact that he would have been angevin, not norman or english.

It's just too bad the only way to test it is to exhume someone, which isn't going to happen, since the entire angevin line, not just the english line, but all the way back to king fulk of Jerusalem, geoffrey's father, is gone (unless those decended from john of gaunt are the legitimate ones-but they could just be katherine's first husband's descendents, since she was married to him the whole time).

ironic, if crazy henry vi was from an illegitimate line. the right of richard duke of york, richard's father, descending from both edward iii's second son and his fourth son (guant was the third son), would have better not just on paper but in reality. shame if so, everything could have been avoided just by letting him peacefully remain regent and crazy henry's heir, both of which he was when he was beheaded, and which is what his son, edward iv, ended up doing by default when he captured henry and had himself crowned king anyway.

T Jones said...

"unfortunately she was so low born, we don't even know who her mother was. seems so odd that a english commoner in the 15th century wouldn't have had local/reginal lineage."

She wasn't all that lowborn, just not particularly highborn. Her father was a knight. And she wasn't English, she was a Hainaulter.

"but they could just be katherine's first husband's descendents, since she was married to him the whole time"

That would be quite a trick, since he had been dead quite a while before the first of the Beauforts was born.

Anne Angstadt said...

G may be very rare in northern and western Europe, but it's not rare elsewhere. It's the haplogroup of Oetzi the Iceman and its occurrence in modern Europe and W. Asia looks very much like a refugia pattern--a major refugium is the Caucasus where reaches 50% or more among various peoples including the Ossetians and Kartvelians. I can't be the only one who read this paper and immediately thought of Littleton & Malcor's *From Scythia to Camelot,* can I? There's no dispute that the Romans moved people from W. Asia to western Europe including the British Isles, the authors' departure is arguing that these Indo-Iranian steppe peoples retained their identity for some time and affected the development of post-Imperial society in these regions, including forming the nucleus of new local elites. No great stretch from this to the emergence into history of Richard III's Angevin ancestors in the late 9th century, in west central France. Once again we're looking at a fascinating clue to the movements of people.
Also interesting if beside the point, Richard's mtdna is a rare variant--J1c2c--supposedly found only in N. England, of a predominately N. African lineage. I'm beginning to think his entire genome was a legacy of the Empire and its remarkable "globalization." Wasn't there a Roman burial in London of a young woman, clad in Chinese silk, whose isotope analysis suggested she grew up in N. Africa? In any case, it appears "the last English King of England" was neither Anglo-Saxon nor Norman.

Raimo Kangasniemi said...

Catherine Roet was not an English commoner; her father was a minor Flemish aristocrat and her unknown mother might well have been Flemish also.

Unknown said...

@t jones

i guess it would have been better had i said it's a shame she was not highly enough born for her mother to be known, but either way, tracing richard's mtdna dead ends with her, and that's a shame, esp. since its a weird little one.

re: who's the daddy--john beaufort, first earl of somerset, her first son with john of gault, was born in 1373. the last history records of sywnford, her first husband, is in 1372. his date of death isn't known, but even if he did die in 1372, he could still be somerset's father, and if he didn't die, the next two were born in 1375 and 1377, hardly "quite a while" from 1372.

the present day ydna of the house of somerset seems more likely to descend from swynford of lincolnshire than falk of Jerusalem to me, but YMMV

@raimo k

history does not record katherine's date of birth, place of birth, mother, or even if she or her sister phillipa, geoffrey chaucer's wife, was the eldest.

the only place history records her as ever having been is in england.

her father was not a minor flemish aristocrat, he was a landless flemish herald raised up to a knight in england for service. think the equivalent of commoner, paul mcnarty's knighthood, as opposed to 2nd son of peer, winston churchill's knighthood.

but the only thing that matters is that she left us in obscurity with an obscur mtdna, and it's a shame.

people should start pestering canterbury to exhume the black prince. look at all the money liecester is getting from richard, they could cash in on all of the "unmasking the black prince" tie-ins and we could cross ref. the y dna.

i dont think we have a shot at getting edward iii exhumed, but we might be able to get his eldest son. i don't know why they are being so squemish about exhuming thus guys, most of them have already been exhumed at least once already.

if that doesn't work, we could start petitioning rouen to exhume richard the lion hearted...

sidoroffs said...

The 5th Duke of Somerset could have had quite a recent false paternity event in his genealogy.

At least, 1 out of 5 of his tested "descendants" has a false paternity.

darlene said...


◦J1c2c : found in northern and eastern Europe

per Eupedia