Author Topic: Anna Anderson - Physical Evidence and DNA  (Read 105161 times)

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Offline Katya04

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Anna Anderson - Physical Evidence and DNA
« on: August 09, 2004, 08:07:04 AM »
Please explain your reasons for this. Is it that you think the tests were faked and lied? Who would do that and why? Do you think they were not conclusive? I can understand DNA tests might not be totally accurate but when they do match up with a person (nephew) it is hard for me to accept they would be fouled and be a perfect match for another person who was the relative of a person a lot of people said Anna really was? Do some of you say this out of compassion and support for Peter Kurth because this means so much to him? I would really like to read straightforward reasons why this isn't over after the DNA tests. Please state your case, I am listening!

bookworm

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Re: Anna Anderson - Physical Evidence and DNA
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2004, 08:54:46 AM »
I'm not a scientist, so I honestly can't tell how accurate the DNA tests were or were not. As a layman, I found Massie's explanations regarding the forensic examination of the bones found at the grave site in Siberia and the mitochondrial DNA testing conducted on the bones very convincing. They matched mitochondrial DNA from the bones with Prince Philip, the grandson of Alexandra's sister Victoria. They also matched Nicholas's mitochondrial DNA with maternal line relatives.

Massie also was quite convincing regarding the DNA testing conducted on two separate samples attributed to Anna Anderson and the great-nephew of Franziska Schanzkowska.

But on his Web site, Peter Kurth also raises a relevant objection. He said two sources indicate the great-nephew was descended from a HALF-SISTER of Franziska Schanzkowska. Franziska and the sister had different mothers. If this is true, the mitochondrial DNA would not match, unless the two mothers of the sisters were sisters or maternally related cousins themselves. Mitochondrial DNA is passed down from mother to child. I think more research is definitely indicated on the Schanzkowski family to clear up that anomaly.

Kurth also argues that DNA testing has progressed in the past decade and scientists now use different, more extensive testing to determine paternity because of discoveries they have made regarding DNA inheritance. Kurth also cites a couple of papers on the site indicating, as far as I can tell, that the DNA from a relic identified as belonging to Alexandra's sister Grand Duchess Elizabeth doesn't match the DNA attributed to the Tsar's family. Another paper appears to question whether the British scientists who did the workup on the Tsar's family did a lot of estimation on the DNA sequences because they were working with such ancient DNA.

Whether any of those arguments are justified, I have no idea. I'm not a scientist. As a layman reading those articles, they do make me question the results somewhat. I'd like someone who really does understand DNA testing to go over the results again and explain it in layman's terms. Of course we all know that DNA testing in a laboratory is subject to human error and sabotage. That is probably extremely unlikely here, but it's another factor to take into account.

I also look at the other evidence in favor of Anna Anderson that Kurth cited on his book and on the Web site and I continue to be impressed. There are similarities in photos of Anna Anderson and Anastasia; stories about some friends and relatives recognizing her based on her memories or her mannerisms or her looks and personality. Kurth also does an effective job of refuting some of the arguments made against Anna Anderson.  Add the fact that Anastasia's body was apparently missing from the grave and there is some evidence that a Grand Duchess survived the murders and I still have questions.

That's the best argument I can give you. I don't know, but I'd like to know more.

.

Offline Abby

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Re: Anna Anderson - Physical Evidence and DNA
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2004, 10:32:52 AM »
Bookworm, you brought up some good points, and the major reasons why I think anyone would doubt the DNA results. When a group puts forth a study (like the Annals of Human Biology report which conducted the test of GD Ella's finger against the remains of Alexandra in the pit) which has evidence so damning like that, you have to consider it. I don't know if it is true or the extent of their tests, but if Ella's finger DNA did not match Alexandra's DNA, then what does that say? I don't know. The Anna Anderson test results seem to be more accurate because the scientists were all honest, hardworking professionals who had nothing to gain or lose by tampering with the evidence. Every step of their actions are documented in books like "The Final Chapter" and "The Fate of the Romanovs" so it is all very convincing to me. But then when contradictory reports begin to surface it leaves me in a cloud of doubt as well. In a case such as the Romanovs' death, I as a reader only can beleive what I read and hear other people say and then make my own conclusions. No one really knows all the answers concerning the DNA tests except those who won't talk about it!

RobMoshein

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Re: Anna Anderson - Physical Evidence and DNA
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2004, 10:33:23 AM »
This bears repeating here,

There are two distinct issues here, which must remain separate.  With all due respect to Peter, who we respect highly, we disagree on this point.  The mtDNA tests are still quite valid today.  The only change in the manner of the test today is that a machine performs the analysis which was done by hand in the AA case.  That analysis showed two results, which have no bearing on each other.  The first result was that AA could in no way be maternally related to Alexandra Feodrovna, 100%.  The second result, which IS open to discussion was that AA MIGHT have been related to FS, with some degree of confidence, but it is not conclusive.  
The key issue here is that one has nothing to do with the other. Whoever AA may really have been, she could NOT be related to Alexandra Feodrovna. You must not lose sight of this fact in the discussion.

Now, another factor is the difference between mtDNA testing, and sequenced and amplified nuclear DNA testing.  mtDNA testing is no different today than it was then, ask ANY forensic DNA scientist.  We do have major strides made in DNA amplification and analysis in the last ten years, so the Gill work has been called into question. Im not enough of a scientist to say one way or the other, and keep hoping that someone who IS familiar and WITHOUT a personal agenda will drop in and give us all some insight.

These different issues must be kept separate in order for a genuine discussion of this question.

Offline Kim

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Re: Anna Anderson - Physical Evidence and DNA
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2004, 11:16:01 AM »
Quote
When a group puts forth a study (like the Annals of Human Biology report which conducted the test of GD Ella's finger against the remains of Alexandra in the pit) which has evidence so damning like that, you have to consider it. I don't know if it is true or the extent of their tests, but if Ella's finger DNA did not match Alexandra's DNA, then what does that say? I don't know.


Could it be:

*The finger was Sister Varvara's, not Ella's?
*The remains from the pit were Demidova's, not Alexandra's?
*someone is mistaken?

Offline Kim

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Re: Anna Anderson - Physical Evidence and DNA
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2004, 11:26:15 AM »
Or  :o

Ella was switched at birth with a handmaiden's child? ;)

bookworm

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Re: Anna Anderson - Physical Evidence and DNA
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2004, 02:02:42 PM »
Quote

Could it be:

*The finger was Sister Varvara's, not Ella's?
*The remains from the pit were Demidova's, not Alexandra's?
*someone is mistaken?


I think the most obvious explanation is that the relic attributed to Ella belonged to someone else. But apparently the scientists had difficulty with the DNA testing because the sample was so ancient. It would really be interesting if some scientist would post here and explain all of this to us, wouldn't it?

Offline Abby

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Re: Anna Anderson - Physical Evidence and DNA
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2004, 02:27:59 PM »
CALLING ALL SCIENTISTS!!!
lol

did they really mistake someone else's finger for Ella's?? How could they do such a dumb thing? well that would explain a lot, then.

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Anna Anderson - Physical Evidence and DNA
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2004, 04:46:19 PM »
Abby,

I don't know that much about the "Ella's finger" story, and I was wondering if anyone knows how they figured out in the first place that the finger belonged to Ella and not to any number of others who ended up dead in that pit? Was the finger attached to her body when it ws found or was it loose? If it was loose, was it just a guess or did they have some compelling reasons to think it was hers? Maybe someone decided that it was Ella's and it was just taken for granted for all these years that it was, and treated as a relic after she was canonized. If this is the case then they had no business automatically assuming that it belonged to her and using it as scientific evidence.... Or maybe they tested it to see if it belonged to Ella in the first place by  comparing it's DNA to the known DNA of their maternally-descended relative? Can anyone shed some light?  Thanks!
Helen

"did they really mistake someone else's finger for Ella's?? How could they do such a dumb thing? well that would explain a lot, then." [/quote Abby]
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by helenazar »

Offline Greg_King

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Re: Anna Anderson - Physical Evidence and DNA
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2004, 03:23:48 AM »
For me, at least, it isn't a questioning of disbelieving the DNA but rather understanding the evolution of the science.  Nor do I see this position as necessarily one that casts me as an Anna Anderson "supporter;" rather, I try to keep an open mind and explore the possibilities and the unanswered questions.

One needn’t believe in conspiracies or ascribe incompetence to those who conducted the testing to have doubts about their continued validity.  Two distinct methods of DNA testing were used to show support for the hypotheses that Anastasia Manahan or Anna Anderson 1) Could not have been a child of Nicholas and Alexandra; 2) Did not match the mtDNA Hessian profile derived by Gill and used to match four of the female Ekaterinburg remains to the profile derived from HRH The Duke of Edinburgh; and 3) Matched the mtDNA profile of Karl Maucher, lending support to the hypothesis that she was Schanzkowska.

Both nuclear and mitochondrial (mtDNA) testing was done.  Nuclear testing is preferred as it renders better results and is considered more accurate, while mtDNA is less discriminating.  Nuclear DNA tests showed that AA could not possibly have been a daughter of N and A, yet changes in the science make the 1994 verdict obsolete.  Gill used a 6-point Short Tandem Repeat (STR) analysis of the nuclear DNA to arrive at these results.  Within four years of these tests, 10 point STR testing was being done, and when results of 10 point STR testing were compared with 6 point STR tests, the 6 point analysis was shown conclusively to give both false positive and negative results-in other words, conclusions based on 6 point STR tests were proved faulty.  In 1999, the testing had gone from the 6 point STR tests of 1993-94 and the 10 point STR tests of 1998 to 12 point STR tests, the accuracy of which further undermined 6 point STR test results.  Gill admitted this in a statement released in 2000, adding that FSS had changed from the old 6 point STR method to the 10 point STR method in 1999.  In 2000, the STR tests were up to a 14 point system; in 2001, it was 16 points, and by 2002, the industry standard worldwide in STR testing was 20 point STR tests.  Scientific studies have repeatedly shown that 6 point STR tests are unreliable and result in false matches and exclusions.  The 6 point STR nuclear DNA tests that showed Anastasia Manahan could not have been a daughter of N and A, therefore, are now meaningless.

The mtDNA match to the Maucher profile is also now known to be less reliable than everyone believed.  In 1994, mtDNA matches were believed to prove identity, and to be unique to related individuals.  Last year, an extensive UK study showed that out of a random 100 persons, four completely unrelated subjects shared exactly the same mtDNA profiles; extrapolate that here, on a board with 400 members: of the 400 of us posting here, 40 of us-unrelated to each other-would have identical mtDNA profiles, thus "proving" that we're related.  The odds of a random mtDNA match between the Manahan sample and the Maucher profile are indeed considerable given the size of the world’s population and the numbers involved.  I suspect, based on the continuing evolution of the science, that future studies will show mtDNA profiles to be even common than this.

My reservations about regarding the 1994 DNA tests as absolutely conclusive in the matter of Anastasia Manahan, therefore, rest on the advances of science.  Two of the three planks in the DNA case against her have now been shown to be either unreliable or less than compelling in a mere ten years.  Her exclusion from the Hessian mtDNA profile remains, and while the methods used to obtain the exclusion remain in practice, given the above changes I hesitate to presume that they, too, won’t be challenged as the science evolves; already in the last 2 years there have been two substantial challenges to the DNA testing done on the Ekaterinburg remains, and I suppose there will be more in the future that may or may not be valid.  This makes it theoretically possible-given the facts above about the first two DNA planks in the case-that ultimately in another generation none of the DNA identifications/exclusions in the Anderson case will matter-and the case will fall back to where it always rested before the DNA-to examination of physical traits, memories, recognitions, etc.

It seems to me, whether one wishes to believe in Anna Anderson or not (and I don't wish either way, incidentally), it’s best to keep an open mind and at least examine the facts as known now in the DNA case against Anastasia Manahan-as three separate issues-rather than repeatedly refer to ten year old tests that, taken as a whole, have lost two-thirds of their validity.

Greg King

bookworm

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Re: Anna Anderson - Physical Evidence and DNA
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2004, 08:37:14 AM »
Thank you, Mr. King. That answers a lot of questions I had.


Offline Annie

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Re: Anna Anderson - Physical Evidence and DNA
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2004, 09:44:49 AM »
I don't know if anyone with the money is interested but I would love to see a redo of these tests today to finally put these doubts to rest.

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Anna Anderson - Physical Evidence and DNA
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2004, 10:18:00 AM »
I'll second that  :)

Quote
I don't know if anyone with the money is interested but I would love to see a redo of these tests today to finally put these doubts to rest.


bookworm

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Re: Anna Anderson - Physical Evidence and DNA
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2004, 10:32:11 AM »
One wonders if they have enough samples to do a re-test even if they wanted to. Were the samples from Anna Anderson even saved?


Offline Katya04

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Re: Anna Anderson - Physical Evidence and DNA
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2004, 12:57:29 PM »
Even if new tests were done I bet there would still be calls of inaccuracy and fraud, whatever :-X I guess some ppl just want to believe it so much nothing is going to change their minds anyway.