King Richard III DNA to be Sequenced

King Richard III DNA to be Sequenched


King Richard III is having his bones ground, but not to make bread, but so the world will once again know more about him, such as his hair, eye color, and his predisposition to disease. They’ve already learned that he had the famously curved spine that Shakespeare claimed he had. Scientists intend to sequence the entire genetic code of King Richard III, and, among other things, discover who, today, is descended from him.

Besides learning that King Richard III was a hunchback, as William Shakespeare and other sources wrote about the last Plantagenet king, the British scientists have also discovered that he died from having his head cleaved with a sharp instrument, possibly a halberd or a sword, and that he had roundworms.

King Richard III met his ultimate end at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, when the monarch was 32. Then, reportedly Henry Tudor, the victor in the battle and Richard’s successor (he later became Henry VII), took his body on horseback to Leicester and to the Greyfriars Friary there. King Richard II was buried in a grave at the friary, but when the friary was dissolved and then demolished in 1538, the king’s body was lost. The body of King Richard III was not located and exhumed until 2012, where it was found underneath a parking lot.

The leader of the project to produce the complete genome sequence of King Richard III will be geneticist Turi King. The entire project is expected to take a year, and cost approximately 100,000 British pounds, or the equivalent of $166,000.

The project, which may alter perceptions of the last king of England to die in battle more than 500 years ago, aims to learn about Richard’s ancestry and health, and provide a genetic archive for historians, researchers and the public.

The purpose of the project is to learn more about the health and ancestry of King Richard III. The Plantagenet dynasty ended with the death of King Richard III. A new dynasty, that of the Tudors, then began when Henry VII took the throne.

Was King Richard III a hunchbacked tyrant, as William Shakespeare portrayed him to be, and did he order two princes killed who he had imprisoned in the Tower of London? There are still supporters of King Richard III around, and they argue that Richard did a lot of good things that are often overlooked. They claim that Richard’s reputation was destroyed to make the Tudors look like the better alternative by comparison.

The eventual resting place of King Richard III will likely be either in York or in Leicester Cathedral, though it’s not yet been decided which of these two locations will be the final one.

A legal dispute over his final resting place might be brewing, because the archaeologists who found and dug up the skeleton of King Richard III have the permission of Britain’s Ministry of Justice to inter the remains of King Richard III at Leicester cathedral.

York is the decided choice of the descendants of King Richard III. They argue that there should be a judicial review of the choice, as the area of York was Richard’s base of power for the short period of 26 months in which he reigned as England’s king.

After the entire genome is sequenced, any samples of King Richard III taken must be reburied with the skeleton of the monarch. Due to the age of the bones, the king’s DNA might be too fragmented for the researchers to create an entire genome sequence.

Even if the DNA is too fragmented to get a complete genome map, the information that the British scientists have learned and are learning about the skeleton of King Richard III will prove to be invaluable.

Written by: Douglas Cobb

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One Response to "King Richard III DNA to be Sequenced"

  1. M.J.Powys-Lybbe   February 14, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    British scientists have not discovered that Richard III was a hunchback, though some benighted individuals have said so. He did not have kyphosis (hunchback) but scoliosis which is quite different. Common sense should tell you that a hunchback could not ride at speed all over the country and become a formidable fighter. In scoliosis the spine is not bent forwards but sideways and it hardly shows. I have a scoliosis but was able to ride well.

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