Sorry, Blood in Gourd Isn't from Louis XVI

Researchers map out genome
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2014 10:06 AM CDT
Sorry, Blood in Gourd Isn't from Louis XVI
King Louis XVI.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A famous gourd was believed to contain the blood of Louis XVI after he was beheaded: It said as much in an inscription, and some research has appeared to confirm it. Now, however, experts have sequenced the blood's genome, and they're saying the opposite, the BBC reports. Their research indicates that the former owner of the blood very likely had brown eyes, whereas Louis XVI's were blue, according to portraits.

What's more, "this sample doesn't have an excess of markers that could be related to a very tall person," as Louis was believed to be, says expert Carles Lalueza-Fox. The genome also may indicate that the person was of a northern Italian background, LiveScience notes. In short, "it really looks like we don't have the king here," Lalueza-Fox says. (Read more Louis XVI stories.)

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