Washington, Feb 26 (ANI): Genomic analysis has confirmed that human remains found in the Ural Mountains in July 2007 are indeed those of the two "missing" children of Nicholas II, the last czar of Russia, whose family was murdered in 1918 during the Bolshevik Revolution.
The finding lays rest to a 90-year-old mystery that involved nobility, revolution, murder and the long-romanticized story of a child's escape from the firing squad.
The final evidence was presented in a paper published in the online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, "Genomic identification in historical case of Nicholas II Royal family" by Evgeny I. Rogaev, professor of psychiatry at UMass Medical School's Brudnick Neuropsychiatric Research Institute and professor of genetics at the Russian Academic Institutions, and his colleagues.
Rogaev was asked by the Russian officials to examine DNA from the newly discovered bone fragments.
Comparing remains from the first grave found in the 1990s to those found more recently, he and his colleagues completed basic studies of mitochondrial DNA inherited through the maternal lines and linked the remains genetically to Empress Alexandra, wife of the Czar, indicating that the remains were very likely those of the czar's children.
Rogaev and his UMMS colleagues, including Anastasia Grigorenko and Yuri Moliaka, were able to determine the complete mitochondrial genome sequences from the remains.
After doing so, they determined the gender of the bone fragments and recovered profiles of nuclear DNA, including that inherited exclusively through the paternal lines.
"The newly found bone fragments were fragile and difficult to work with, but we were able to extract enough uncontaminated genetic material to conduct the tests. Thus we were able to test the genetic connections through both maternal and paternal lineages," said Rogaev.
The data conclusively demonstrated that the remains found belonged to children of the Romanovs, 13-year-old Crown Prince Alexei and one of his older sisters.
"The bloodstain DNA profile for all DNA systems matched with that of the bone fragment DNA profiles, and so we could conclude the identity of the putative remains of Nicholas II with a great degree of confidence," said Rogaev.
This study, along with prior work, concluded that all five children-four daughters and one son along with their parents, last Russian Czar Nicholas II and his wife Empress Alexandra have been located and identified and thus none of the family members survived the 1918 murders. (ANI)