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Identification of the remains of the Romanov family by DNA analysis

Nature Geneticsvolume 6pages130135 (1994) | Download Citation



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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    • Peter Gill
    • , Colin Kimpton
    • , Romelle Piercy
    • , Nicola Benson
    • , Gillian Tully
    • , Ian Evett
    •  & Kevin Sullivan

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


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

    • Peter Gill
    • , Colin Kimpton
    • , Romelle Piercy
    • , Nicola Benson
    • , Gillian Tully
    • , Ian Evett
    •  & Kevin Sullivan
  2. Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, 117984, Moscow, Russia

    • Pavel L. Ivanov
  3. Department of Biological Anthropology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3DZ, UK

    • Erika Hagelberg


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