Published in

Nature Research (part of Springer Nature), Scientific Reports, (4)

DOI: 10.1038/srep04666

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Genomic analysis of the blood attributed to Louis XVI (1754–1793), king of France

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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Data provided by SHERPA/RoMEO

Abstract

A pyrographically decorated gourd, dated to the French Revolution period, has been alleged to contain a handkerchief dipped into the blood of the French king Louis XVI (1754-1793) after his beheading but recent analyses of living males from two Bourbon branches cast doubts on its authenticity. We sequenced the complete genome of the DNA contained in the gourd at low coverage (~2.5×) with coding sequences enriched at a higher ~7.3× coverage. We found that the ancestry of the gourd's genome does not seem compatible with Louis XVI's known ancestry. From a functional perspective, we did not find an excess of alleles contributing to height despite being described as the tallest person in Court. In addition, the eye colour prediction supported brown eyes, while Louis XVI had blue eyes. This is the first draft genome generated from a person who lived in a recent historical period; however, our results suggest that this sample may not correspond to the alleged king.