Why should you care about a dead king's DNA?

I loved your “Knee Good” and “Burke and Hare” articles :smiley:

I can think of at least one scenario where a DNA test would have made a big difference.


And about the same distance from where I was born :slight_smile:

@thecorrectline Ha, thanks. The Burke and Hare ones is a favourite of mine too (although I am partial to the ‘giants’ story).

@kaleberg7 Is the research/funding situation of a 17th century monk really comparable to research/funding situation of 21st century university lecturers/professors? Even if it were, Dom Perignon isn’t responsible for inventing champagne - this is a historical misnomer. But if your example were true and comparable - then it’s still an example of directed research, but one having an unexpected outcome (directed to remove bubbles from wine, realised the tasty benefits of them). Which is how a lot of research results occur - not entirely aimless research, but realising one result while in pursuit of another. And I’m totally for that. Although of course it would be nice to just be handed some money and have someone say, “Do whatever you want with it in the pursuit of knowledge.” :smile:

@chgoliz I am really sorry, but I haven’t got a clue what you are trying to say. Who is ‘they/them’? What is the here/there/elsewhere? And what does this research team’s sequencing of Richard III’s genome have to do with my own research? The research project I am currently working on is exactly what I want to be working on. I designed it with my supervisors and received funding from a university to conduct it. We saw a need for research in this area and decided to pursue it. Of course, if the university didn’t see the benefit of the research the funding wouldn’t have materialised, but I’m already aware of that…

I’m conflating the research of a student under the guidance of a supervisor with the research of career professionals in the field, just as you conflated the value of the opinion of the student with the more educated and experienced opinions of those professionals.

They are sequencing a commoner too, after all. But how did they know which commoner to use? I have not read what the king’s Y-DNA haplogroup was, but I doubt there’s only one living man in the world with the same one. No, the researchers would have used genealogy records to get a sense of where to look. How many commoners had documentation 600 years ago, maintained in an unbroken line up to the present day?

I have a rare mitochondrial DNA which is relatively recent and unusually well documented, so I can actually name the ancestor it came from 600 years ago. Very few people in the world can do that. (Yes, I’m part of a project.)

In science, you have to start with as few unknowns as possible. Right now, in the infancy of this work, that means using people with as much available documentation as possible. I’m no fan of kings, but I can recognize the limits of haplogroup and autosomal research at this point, and temper my opinion in response.

What about gathering data in anticipation of there possibly being questions that might be asked at a future date that the data would answer, so that they don’t have to dig him up again?

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.