DNA to help solve Leonardo da Vinci mystery
By T.K. Randall
May 6, 2016 · 9 comments
Where is Da Vinci's final resting place ? Image Credit: Svenska Familj-Journalen
Scientists are hoping to extract DNA from skin and hair samples found on some of Da Vinci's paintings.
The groundbreaking new study, which will enable researchers to learn more about the celebrated Renaissance genius than ever before, will begin with a careful examination of his paintings and notebooks to look for any hairs or flakes of skin from which traces of DNA can be extracted.
By analyzing this genetic material it should be possible to determine many of his physical characteristics such as the color of his eyes, the tone of his skin and the shape of his face.
It may also be possible to use the DNA to solve one of the biggest remaining mysteries surrounding Da Vinci - his final resting place. While he was known to have been originally buried in the chapel of Saint-Florentin in France in 1519, the building was destroyed in the French revolution and it is thought that his remains may have been moved to the smaller chapel of Saint-Hubert instead.
"If human DNA is obtained from Leonardo's work and sequenced, the genetic material can then be compared with genetic information from skeletal or other remains that may be exhumed," said Jesse Ausubel, vice-chairman of the Richard Lounsbery Foundation.
"We stand to gain not only greater historical knowledge of Leonardo but possibly a reconstruction of his genetic profile, which could provide insights into other individuals with remarkable qualities."
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