London: The genetic code of King Richard III, the medieval monarch whose remains were found buried under a Leicester parking lot is set to be sequenced, scientists say.
Richard III will become the first ancient individual of known identity to have genome sequenced, researc ers said.
The information aims to reveal the dead monarch’s hair and eye colour and provide insights into his ancestry, scientists believe.
It may also provide some hints as to what ailed the infamous monarch whose remains were unearthed beneath a parking lot in Leicester, England, in 2012.
The genomes of Richard III and one of his family’s direct living descendants are to be sequenced in a project led by Dr Turi King of the Department of Genetics at the University of Leicester.
The aim is to shed new light on the ancestry and health of the last king of England to die in battle, and provide a complete archive of information that historians, scientists and the public will be able to access and use.
King and colleagues plan to sequence his genome and make it freely accessible as a resource to researchers wishing to analyse and interrogate its genetic information.
Richard III will be the first ancient individual of known identity to have his genome sequenced. This will be carried out in collaboration with Professor Michael Hofreiter at the University of Potsdam.
In addition to sequencing the remains of Richard III, researchers will also sequence one of his living relatives, Michael Ibsen.
An initial analysis of the DNA of his mitochondria – the batteries that power the cells in our bodies – which is passed down the maternal line, confirmed the genealogical evidence that Ibsen and Richard III shared the same lineage.
The project will allow researchers to look for any other segments of DNA that these distant relatives share.
The project is funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Leverhulme Trust and Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, Emeritus Professor at the University of Leicester.