Scientists to map the genome of medieval English king Richard III

Richard III SkullDiscovery of skeleton lets scientists plan to sequence Richard III’s genome

A year after they revealed that a twisted skeleton found under a parking lot was the remains of King Richard III, scientists in Britain plan to grind samples of his ancient bones and use them to map his genome.

The project aims to learn about Richard’s ancestry and health, and provide a genetic archive for historians, researchers and the public.

In one of the most significant archaeological finds of recent English history, the skeleton was dug up in the city of Leicester and unveiled last year as that of the king slain as he fought to keep his crown at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.

After taking a small sample of bone from the skeleton, Turi King of the University of Leicester’s genetics department will grind it to a powder, extract DNA and seek to piece together Richard’s genetic code.

“It’s a bit like a jigsaw puzzle. You tile it together to get as much of the genome as possible,” King said last week.

Richard III’s remains and any samples taken from them are to be reinterred at some point, although the issue of when and where is now a legal dispute.

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