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DNA to help solve Leonardo da Vinci mystery

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Holy Blood, Holy Grail
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« on: May 07, 2016, 03:30:10 am »

DNA to help solve Leonardo da Vinci mystery
Posted on Friday, 6 May, 2016



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."
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/05/05/leonardo-da-vinci-paintings-analysed-for-dna-to-solve-grave-myst/
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Holy Blood, Holy Grail
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2016, 03:31:17 am »

Ideally, they would find many such a trace and they will match between a few works which were never manipulated by the same people. For example, a fresco in Italy and a painting in France. Additionally, they found a direct male descendant from Leonardo Da Vinci's father, so if there was no cheating or unrecorded adoption along the way, the Y-DNA signature should match, close to a few mutations. Unless it spins into a who's the daddy drama à la Richard III. So it is possible, but it is a long shot.
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2016, 03:32:02 am »

Make an embryo from his DNA and plant it in a surrogate. Leonardo could return from the dead!
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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2016, 03:33:19 am »


Leonardo da Vinci paintings analysed for DNA to solve grave mystery





Leonardo da Vinci
Experts of unsure whether the grave of Leonardo da Vinci actually contains his bones  Credit: Alamy

    Sarah Knapton, Science Editor

5 May 2016 • 10:42pm

The mystery of where Leonardo da Vinci is buried could be laid to rest after scientists began a painstaking hunt for his DNA.

Leonardo was originally interred in the chapel of Saint-Florentin at the Chateau d'Amboise in the Loire Valley, in 1519, but the building was destroyed in the French revolution and it is believed his remains were reburied in the castle’s smaller chapel of Saint-Hubert in the 19th century.

However a plaque above his grave warns that it is only the ‘presumed’ location of his body.

Now scientists are hoping that advances in genetic testing could, finally, give an answer.

They believe that Leonardo may have left traces of his DNA in paintings, notebooks and drawings, and are planning to study works for fingerprints, flakes of skin and even hair.

Specialists from the J. Craig Venter Institute in California, which pioneered the sequencing of the human genome, are developing a technique to extract and sequence genetic material from paintings that are hundreds of years old.

The first tests are expected to be carried out on Leonardo’s masterpiece Adoration of the Magi which is currently undergoing restoration in Florence, Italy.

If they find DNA, experts will then be able to compare it to living relatives to make sure it actually belongs to Leonardo, before testing samples from the grave in a similar way to how Richard III was identified after his body was found in a Leicester car park. They are also hunting for the grave of his father in Florence, and mother in Milan, as another way of verifying the match.
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo's Adoration of the Magi will be studied for analysed for DNA

Once granted permission to exhume the remains, the team are hoping to reconstruct the face of Leonardo from his skull to see how it compares with self-portraits, as well as studying his bones to learn more about diet and what caused his death, which has never been recorded.

Jesse Ausubel, vice-chairman of the Richard Lounsbery Foundation, which is funding the project, said: “It is well known that Leonardo used his fingers along with his brushes while painting, some prints of which have remained, and so it could be possible to find cells of his epidermis mixed with the colours.

“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

“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.”

Born in Vinci, Italy, in 1452 Leonardo foresaw and described innovations hundreds of years before their invention, such as the helicopter and armoured tank. His artistic legacy includes the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.

Near the end of his life, Leonardo accepted an invitation from the French king, Francis I, to leave Italy and to move to the Chateeau du Clos Luc near Amboise, with some of his students, where he held the position of “first painter, engineer, and architect of the King.” He died in Cloux on 5 May 1519 at the age of 67.
The 'presumed' grave of Leonardo da Vinci
The 'presumed' grave of Leonardo da Vinci Credit: Loire-et-Indre Centre

Leonardo was buried in the chapel of Saint Florentin at the Chateau d'Amboise until it was demolished in 1802 when some of the graves were destroyed and the bones scattered. 19th century biographers claimed his body had been lost but doubts emerged in 1863 when an amateur excavation at the site found a stone coffin containing a skeleton and large skull judged ‘large enough to hold and exceptional brain.’ The remains were found near to a slab with the inscription LEO DUS VINC.
Forensic scientist Dr Rhonda Roby swabs the side of a painting
Forensic scientist Dr Rhonda Roby swabs the side of a painting

The bones attributed to Leonardo, were placed in a basket but then were lost for a decade. When they were rediscovered they were reburied in 1874 in the Chapel of Saint Hubert.

Historian and Renaissance Expert Ross King, author of Leonardo and The Last Supper said:  “The remains in the chapel were excavated by the impresario Arsène Houssaye. Even by the standards of the mid nineteenth century, Houssaye’s protocols were short on science and strong on myth and wish-fulfilment.

“The uncertainty endures, but scientific study of the remains could be expected either tentatively to confirm or to preclude altogether the possibility of their being those of Leonardo da Vinci.”

The ‘Leonardo Project’ team comprises  anthropologists, art historians, genealogists and microbiologists from universities and institutes in France, Italy, Spain, Canada and the USA. It aims to conclude in 2019 to mark the 500th anniversary of Leonardo's death.

 

 

 

 
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/05/05/leonardo-da-vinci-paintings-analysed-for-dna-to-solve-grave-myst/
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« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2016, 03:34:12 am »



Leonardo's Adoration of the Magi will be studied for analysed for DNA
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« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2016, 03:34:50 am »



 The 'presumed' grave of Leonardo da Vinci Credit: Loire-et-Indre Centre
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« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2016, 03:35:28 am »



Forensic scientist Dr Rhonda Roby swabs the side of a painting
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