The identification of the Romanovs: Can we (finally) put the controversies to rest?

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For much of the 20 th century the fate of the last Imperial family of Russia, the Romanovs, was a mystery after their execution in 1918. In the mid 1970s the mass grave of the Romanov family (minus two of the children) was discovered and officially exhumed after the fall of the Soviet Union. Forensic DNA testing of the remains in the early 1990s was used to identify the family. Despite the overwhelming evidence for establishing the identity of the Romanov family, a small but vocal number of scientists have tried to raise doubt about the DNA testing during the late 1990s and early 2000s. With the discovery of the two missing Romanov children in 2007, there was an opportunity to re-analyze all of the evidence associated with the case which confirmed the initial DNA testing and brought finality to the mystery. This article will discuss the controversies associated with the Romanov identification and reflect upon the importance of the case to the field of forensic DNA typing over the last 20 years.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20
JournalInvestigative Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 26 Sep 2011


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