Genetic examination of the putative skull of Jan Kochanowski reveals its female sex

Kupiec, Tomasz; Branicki, Wojciech
June 2011
Croatian Medical Journal;Jun2011, Vol. 52 Issue 3, p403
Academic Journal
Case Study
We report the results of genetic examination of the putative skull of Jan Kochanowski (1530-1584), a great Polish renaissance poet. The skull was retrieved in 1791 by historian Tadeusz Czacki from the Kochanowski family tomb and became the property of the Czartoryskis Museum in Krakow. An anthropological study in 1926 questioned its male origin, which raised doubts about its authenticity. Our report presents genetic evidence that resolves this dispute. From the sole tooth we obtained a sufficient amount of DNA to perform the analysis of nuclear markers. The analysis of the sex-informative part of intron 1 in amelogenin, genotyped using AmpFiSTR® NGM PCR Amplification Kit and Powerplex® ESI17 Kit human identification systems, revealed the female origin of the tooth. The female origin was further confirmed by the analysis of a portion of amelogenin intron 2, a microsatellite marker located on the X chromosome, as well as by a lack of signal from Y chromosomal microsatellite markers and the sex-determining region Y marker. Data obtained for two hypervariable regions, HVI and HVII, in mitochondrial DNA showed that mtDNA haplotype was relatively frequent among contemporary Europeans. The analysis of a set of single nucleotide polymorphisms relevant for prediction of the iris color indicated an 87% probability that the woman had hazel or brown eye color.


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