While DNA from living people can be studied in our Department of Genetics, unfortunately the University of Leicester does not currently have an ‘ancient DNA’ laboratory. The study of ancient DNA requires special facilities, not least a completely clean environment since the slightest trace of modern DNA can irretrievably contaminate a specimen.
Consequently, Dr King travelled to two world-leading laboratories specialising in the study of ancient DNA. At the University of York, Turi carried out the work in the lab of Professor Michael Hofreiter with Gloria Gonzales Fortes; at the Universite Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, Turi worked with Dr Patricia Balaresque and Laure Tunasso, where the work was independently verified. In each of these ultra-clean labs, Dr King manalysed the skeleton’s mtDNA in order to compare it with Mr Ibsen’s mtDNA and also that of a second female-line descendant.