Granada, Spain, May 19 (EFE).- A DNA study to confirm the origins of Christopher Columbus is due to resume after a 16 year hiatus and could reveal answers by 12 October, the 528th anniversary of the explorer’s first arrival in the Americas.
Scientists are analyzing remains belonging to Columbus and two family members.
José Antonio Lorente, professor of forensic medicine at the University of Granada in Spain, said the study would attempt to settle the debate surrounding the early life of the explorer, who is widely believed to have been born in Genoa.
Lorente’s team will collaborate with five different American and European genetic identification laboratories.
The team will analyze bones belonging to Columbus, his son and his brother with results expected to emerge progressively over time.
The investigation started in 2002 but was halted in 2005 when researchers realized that the technology at their disposal at the time was not “efficient.”
“We were using too many grams of bone to retrieve very little information,” said Lorente.
Breakthroughs in DNA extraction technologies will allow researchers to “drastically” improve both the quality and quantity of DNA samples extracted from the remains as well as the subsequent analysis.
Researchers have access to four almond-sized bone fragments from Columbus, another seven, including a tooth, from his son Hernando, and twelve bone fragments from his brother Diego.
The remains were confirmed to have familiar ties by genetic studies in 2004-2005, but the results are “not necessarily conclusive,” according to Lorente.