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Nature Genetics  6, 130 - 135 (1994)

Identification of the remains of the Romanov family by DNA analysis

Peter Gill1, 4, Pavel L. Ivanov2, Colin Kimpton1, 4, Romelle Piercy1, 4, Nicola Benson1, 4, Gillian Tully1, 4, Ian Evett1, 4, Erika Hagelberg3 & Kevin Sullivan1, 4

  1Central Research and Support Establishment, Forensic Science Service, Aldermaston, Reading, Berkshire, RG7 4PN, UK

  2Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, 117984, Moscow, Russia

  3University of Cambridge, Department of Biological Anthropology, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3DZ, UK

  4Present address: Forensic Science Service, Priory House, Gooch Street North, Birmingham B5 6QQ, UK

Nine skeletons found in a shallow grave in Ekaterinburg, Russia, in July 1991, were tentatively identified by Russian forensic authorities as the remains of the last Tsar, Tsarina, three of their five children, the Royal Physician and three servants. We have performed DNA based sex testing and short tandem repeat (STR) analysis and confirm that a family group was present in the grave. Analysis of mitochondrial (mt) DNA reveals an exact sequence match between the putative Tsarina and the three children with a living maternal relative. Amplified mtDNA extracted from the remains of the putative Tsar has been cloned to demonstrate heteroplasmy at a single base within the mtDNA control region. One of these sequences matches two living maternal relatives of the Tsar. We conclude that the DNA evidence supports the hypothesis that the remains are those of the Romanov family.

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Nature Genetics
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