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Mitochondrial DNA analysis on remains of a putative son of Louis XVI, King of France and Marie-Antoinette

Abstract

Carl Wilhelm Naundorff was buried in 1845 in Delft as Louis Charles, Duc de Normandie, ‘Louis XVII’. However, the son of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette – Louis XVII – officially died in the Temple of Paris in 1795. In order to resolve the identity of Naundorff, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) D-loop sequences of his remains were compared with the sequences obtained from the hairs of two sisters of Marie-Antoinette, Marie-Antoinette herself, and with the sequences obtained from DNA samples of two living maternal relatives. The mtDNA sequence of a bone sample from Naundorff showed two nucleotide differences from the sequences of the three sisters and four differences from the sequences of living maternal relatives. Based on this evidence it becomes very unlikely that Naundorff is the son of Marie-Antoinette.

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Correspondence to Jean-Jacques Cassiman.

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Jehaes, E., Decorte, R., Peneau, A. et al. Mitochondrial DNA analysis on remains of a putative son of Louis XVI, King of France and Marie-Antoinette. Eur J Hum Genet 6, 383–395 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejhg.5200227

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejhg.5200227

Keywords

  • Louis XVII
  • mitochondrial DNA
  • ancient DNA
  • genetic identification

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