Experts embarking on a major project to investigate the genius of Leonardo da Vinci hope to extract DNA from the Renaissance Man’s fingerprints.
An international team of scientists and historians will analyse evidence from paintings, drawings, and notebooks touched by the Italian polymath.
They are seeking permission to look for DNA traces in dust from the painting Adoration of the Magi, currently undergoing restoration in Florence.
Any genetic material obtained and sequenced will be compared with DNA from da Vinci’s living and dead relatives, as well as skeletal or other remains that might be discovered in the future.
Born just outside Florence on April 15, 1452, da Vinci possessed an incandescent natural genius that encompassed art, engineering, architecture, and biology.
Scientists from the J Craig Venter Institute in the US and the University of Florence are examining privately owned paintings from da Vinci’s era to develop techniques for DNA extraction and analysis.
Other institutions in the Leonardo Project include Institut de Paleontologie Humaine in Paris, Rockefeller University in New York City, and the Laboratory of Genetic Identification at the University of Grenada, Spain.
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