London, July 28 : The Polish government has decided against letting scientists conduct a DNA test on the heart of the great 19th century composer Frederic Chopin.
Chopin's heart has been kept in a jar sealed inside a pillar at Warsaw's Holy Cross Church, just like a religious artefact, since it was preserved in alcohol after his death in 1849 at the age of 39. Now, scientists want to remove his heart for DNA analysis to probe if he died from cystic fibrosis, instead of tuberculosis, as his death certificate states.
However, the government has decided that it would be inappropriate to disturb the remains.
The only time the heart had been removed was for safekeeping during the Second World War.
It was returned in 1951, after it was examined by a doctor who found that the heart was perfectly preserved in alcohol, believed to be cognac.
While Chopin died and was buried in France, he requested that his heart should be sent to his homeland.