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September 13, 2012

Is it Richard III's Body? Canadian's DNA May Be the Key

Researchers at the University of Leicester are currently analyzing bones discovered during a recent archaeological dig to determine if they are the remains of King Richard III, a 15th-century ruler of England.

Archaeologists had long sought the monarch's grave, which had been the subject of speculation for centuries. The recent discovery of a skeleton showing signs of Richard's famed spinal curvature and bearing signs of fatal battle wounds, however, isn't enough to solve the mystery.

A Canadian family who can name the king as one of their direct ancestors is providing the DNA evidence that will conclusively prove whether the remains belong to the late monarch.
Jeff Ibsen said his family contains a direct genetic link to the king with Ibsen's mother being a descendant of King Richard's sister.

When British historians established the ancestral connection nearly a decade ago, Ibsen said the family was warned that they may be pressed into service if the king's burying place was ever discovered.

Mitochondrial DNA is passed through the female line, and all the sons and daughters of the mother inherit her mitochondrial DNA.

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