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Scientists Aim to Replicate da Vinci’s DNA

Scientists Aim to Replicate da Vinci’s DNA
June 29
13:18 2016

What if modern technology and science allowed us to reconstruct the genetic makeup of famous artists, athletes and other renowned figures? This sounds like a plot of a Sci-Fi movie, but this may be possible in the distant future.

The Leonardo Project’s mission is to replicate the genetic makeup of one of the greatest artists of history. Leonardo da Vinci is most famous for his renaissance paintings, including the “Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper.” It’s less commonly known that he developed early prototype designs for the helicopter and armored tank.

So it’s safe to say that he was brilliant.

With that in mind, a team of genealogists, microbiologists and anthropologists in Florence will be using state of the art technology to decipher Leonardo’s DNA.

It won’t be an easy feat either, considering the exact location of his grave is unknown and most of his information has been lost since his death back in 1519.

However, scientists do believe to have some remnants of hair, bones, fingerprints and skin cells from the famous artist.

“We stand to gain not only greater historical knowledge of Leonardo but possibly a reconstruction of his genetic profile, which could provide insights into other individuals with remarkable qualities,” said Brunetto Chiarelli, of International Institute for Humankind Studies in Florence.

So far, the program has identified some of his distant relatives. They will be comparing DNA from da Vinci’s relatives, along with what they have uncovered from the former artist himself.

With advanced technology, the team may even be able to retrieve genetic information from the 500+ year old paintings and letters that the artist touched.

The team will also be doing a high-tech examination of da Vinci’s father’s tomb in Florence.

“I think everyone in the group believes that Leonardo, who devoted himself to advancing art and science, who delighted in puzzles, and whose diverse talents and insights continue to enrich society five centuries after his passing, would welcome the initiative of this team,” said Jesse Ausubel, vice chairman of the Richard Lounsbery Foundation, the group sponsoring the Leonardo Project in journal news release. “Indeed [da Vinci] would likely wish to lead it were he alive today.”


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