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Research Article

Mystery Solved: The Identification of the Two Missing Romanov Children Using DNA Analysis

  • Michael D. Coble equal contributor mail,

    equal contributor Contributed equally to this work with: Michael D. Coble, Odile M. Loreille

    mike.coble@us.army.mil

    Affiliation: Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Rockville, Maryland, United States of America

    X
  • Odile M. Loreille equal contributor,

    equal contributor Contributed equally to this work with: Michael D. Coble, Odile M. Loreille

    Affiliation: Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Rockville, Maryland, United States of America

    X
  • Mark J. Wadhams,

    Affiliation: Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Rockville, Maryland, United States of America

    X
  • Suni M. Edson,

    Affiliation: Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Rockville, Maryland, United States of America

    X
  • Kerry Maynard,

    Affiliation: Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Rockville, Maryland, United States of America

    X
  • Carna E. Meyer,

    Affiliation: Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Rockville, Maryland, United States of America

    X
  • Harald Niederst├Ątter,

    Affiliation: Institute of Legal Medicine, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria

    X
  • Cordula Berger,

    Affiliation: Institute of Legal Medicine, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria

    X
  • Burkhard Berger,

    Affiliation: Institute of Legal Medicine, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria

    X
  • Anthony B. Falsetti,

    Affiliation: University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, United States of America

    X
  • Peter Gill,

    Affiliations: Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom, Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

    X
  • Walther Parson,

    Affiliation: Institute of Legal Medicine, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria

    X
  • Louis N. Finelli

    Affiliation: Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Rockville, Maryland, United States of America

    X
  • Published: March 11, 2009
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004838

Reader Comments (3)

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As far as I understand, this conclusion in "Discussion" is not based on DNA-tests. Probably, this is only his opinion.

Posted by BorisRomanov on 02 Mar 2011 at 11:39 GMT

ere we are able to give a full account of all of the Romanov family and can conclude that none of the family survived the execution in the early morning hours of July 17, 1918.
http://plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0004838#article1.body1.sec3.p11

Among the general public there is widely believed that DNA tests of second "Yekaterinburg remains" (in 2007-2010) had closed the theme of Anastasia's rescue. Even some specialists and historians refer for this to the article «Mystery Solved: The Identification of the Two Missing Romanov Children Using DNA Analysis» by Dr.Michael D. Coble (and other authors).

However, it is not so: Dr.M.Coble (et al), they write:
We read in “Introduction” of this article:
“The identity of the missing princess was the source of a high profile disagreement between Russian and US forensic anthropologists: the Russians were convinced that Maria was missing from the mass grave, while the American experts believed that Anastasia was missing.
...
We also present the results of a new analysis of the remains from the first mass grave attributed to Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra, Olga, Tatiana and a third daughter who could be either Anastasia or Maria. The DNA analysis of all three genetic systems confirms that the samples tested from the second grave are one female and one male child of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra, solving the mystery of the missing Romanov children.”

We read in “Discussion”:
“It should be mentioned that a well publicized debate [2] over which daughter, Maria (according to Russian experts) or Anastasia (according to US experts), has been recovered from the second grave cannot be settled based upon the DNA results reported here. In the absence of a DNA reference from each sister, we can ONLY conclusively identify Alexei – the ONLY son of Nicholas and Alexandra.”

And we read in “Supporting Information”:
“Figure S1.
mtDNA lineage information of previous and present Romanov testing. *The identification of either Maria or Anastasia was not possible by DNA analysis alone. Either name could be interchangeable in this pedigree.”

Obviously, his (Dr.Coble's) other words, in chapter "Discussion" ("... we are able to give a full account of all of the Romanov family and can conclude that none of the family survived the execution in the early morning hours of July 17, 1918, ") - this contradicts to his other conclusions from other chapters, which I quoted above. As far as I understand, this his conclusion in "Discussion" is not based on DNA-tests. Probably, this is only his opinion.

Thus, the identification of the female's samples from the second grave as Anastasia's samples (or Maria's) is only a hypothesis, NOT RELATED TO DNA-TESTS.
Thus, I think, the hypothesis of Anastasia's rescue does not contradict this article (report) of Dr.M.Coble.

No competing interests declared.