Author Topic: New study questions identity of Romanov bones  (Read 95810 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline JonC

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 202
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: New study questions identity of Romanov bones
« Reply #420 on: October 24, 2004, 07:08:11 PM »
Helen.

I also went to the lecture...boy! if I only knew you were there I would have introduced myself and then? Who knows?

I particularly disliked the way he was negative on any new material or info. When asked if he would update his book he said no he wouldn't. He's sold 15 million copies of the original 'Nicholas & Alexandra' so what does he care. His next book was going to be on 'Catherine the Great.'

I was not impressed by his presentation. When asked about Greg King's new book as it compared with his N&A, he shut down the conversation by saying he has never read King's book. I heard some groans in the audience about his response.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by JonC »

Offline JonC

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 202
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: New study questions identity of Romanov bones
« Reply #421 on: October 24, 2004, 07:31:51 PM »
Quote
The major problem with this statement is the unquestionable fact that Gill sequenced the remains BEFORE a sample was taken from Prince Philip. HOW can "mishandling" or "exaggeration" lead to the unquestionable result that it MATCHED Prince Philip's DNA to a certainty of over 99.5 percent??



FA, you must understand that when I say ' from origin' I don't mean from Gill's lab at Aldemaston, England. I mean from the Koptiaky forest, Russia.

In other words how do we know if the BONES belonged to Nicholas and his immediate family? The grave was openned and closed several times. Skulls were taken and subsequently replaced after some time. Nicholas's skull, I read somewhere was even taken to Paris, France by I think Sokolov who had it under his bed for a while.

For all we know the bones could be of relatives of the Royal Family because the gravesite was never preserved.

When Dr. Gill accepted the 'bones' why didn't he ask for proof that the samples had kept their integrity?

Why did he simply take the word of the Russian representatives that anthropological studies performed on the bones indicated they belonged to Nicholas and his family? Did he ask to see the studies?

As Dr. Knight pointed out each skull had huge chunks missing from the frontal sections. I don't see how a positive identification could have been made on any of them.

Dr. Gill performing his studies before acquiring Prince Phillip's sample doesn't really mean anything in light of the above problem.

Offline Forum Admin

  • Administrator
  • Velikye Knyaz
  • *****
  • Posts: 4665
  • www.alexanderpalace.org
    • View Profile
    • Alexander Palace Time Machine
Re: New study questions identity of Romanov bones
« Reply #422 on: October 24, 2004, 07:48:39 PM »
Quote

In other words how do we know if the BONES belonged to Nicholas and his immediate family? For all we know the bones could be of relatives of the Royal Family because the gravesite was never preserved.

umm, I got your point. YOU fail to understand the simple logistics of what you suggest, and fail to show a genuine motive to do what you suggest.

FIRST, they would have had to find Romanov relations that are of the exact age and gender of the IF. THEN, those all dead female relations would ALSO have to have a maternal relation to Queen Victoria and a mother/daughter relation with the elder female. We can stop right there, because there ARE no dead relations that fit that bill. THEN, the male relation HAS to be a fraternal relation to GD George Alexandrovich...all those candidates are accounted for OTHER than Nicholas....

we don't even need to bother with WHY the russians would try to do this,since there is NO possible candidate of dead Romanov's whose dna could match...

Before I let you continue with this claim, I insist you provide a LIST of the POSSIBLE dead Romanovs whose remains COULD have been substitued...please.

Read some history, then some science. You seem to need more info on both counts
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by admin »

Offline LisaDavidson

  • Moderator
  • Velikye Knyaz
  • *****
  • Posts: 2665
    • View Profile
Re: New study questions identity of Romanov bones
« Reply #423 on: October 24, 2004, 08:17:24 PM »
Regarding the updating of books: in this internet age, I think many of us assume that writers and publishers are up for this. It's simply not usually the case. Many of us would like Peter Kurth to update "Anastasia" and he is willing - but his publisher is not and if I recall correctly, the publisher owns the rights for any subsequent editions.

Offline Helen_Azar

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 7472
  • Coming up Fall 2015: Tatiana's diaries and letters
    • View Profile
    • War-time diaries of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna Romanov
Re: New study questions identity of Romanov bones
« Reply #424 on: October 24, 2004, 08:32:47 PM »
Lisa,

I think the exact question directed at Massie was: "Considering that currently there so much more access to so many different archives that weren't available at the time you wrote N & A (in the 60's), would you now write something different or add anything new to what you had written then?" He answered that he wouldn't change anything at all, that he would keep it exactly the same. I also thought that sounded a little odd, surely there must be at least some new information that came to light that he would want to add. I don't think he meant it as in "the editor wouldn't let me", he meant it as in "this would be my own choice"...
I was wondering, do you know what Peter Kurth would change if he would update "Anastasia"? He hasn't changed his mind about her yet, has he?

Helen

Quote
Regarding the updating of books: in this internet age, I think many of us assume that writers and publishers are up for this. It's simply not usually the case. Many of us would like Peter Kurth to update "Anastasia" and he is willing - but his publisher is not and if I recall correctly, the publisher owns the rights for any subsequent editions.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by helenazar »

Offline daveK

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 124
    • View Profile
Re: New study questions identity of Romanov bones
« Reply #425 on: October 24, 2004, 09:10:18 PM »
Quote
Hi  very adamantly said "They are wrong!". So, looks like another author Dr Knight quoted in his paper and his rebuttal letter has been

Helen


helen, thanks for your info. It seems that there is not a single author or scientist who supports Knight study except Knight group.  Annals of Human Biology is controled by Knight Group itself and Roger was indeed Litwin. That kind of sucks  :(, as I am still open-minded to any alternative scenario...

Offline Helen_Azar

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 7472
  • Coming up Fall 2015: Tatiana's diaries and letters
    • View Profile
    • War-time diaries of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna Romanov
Re: New study questions identity of Romanov bones
« Reply #426 on: October 24, 2004, 10:05:53 PM »
That may not be exactly true, there are a couple of scientists seem sort of open to this, but I have a feeling they don't know the full story and just take his information at face value...

Quote
It seems that there is not a single author or scientist who supports Knight study except Knight group.  


Offline LisaDavidson

  • Moderator
  • Velikye Knyaz
  • *****
  • Posts: 2665
    • View Profile
Re: New study questions identity of Romanov bones
« Reply #427 on: October 24, 2004, 10:28:49 PM »
Quote
Lisa,

I think the exact question directed at Massie was: "Considering that currently there so much more access to so many different archives that weren't available at the time you wrote N & A (in the 60's), would you now write something different or add anything new to what you had written then?" He answered that he wouldn't change anything at all, that he would keep it exactly the same. I also thought that sounded a little odd, surely there must be at least some new information that came to light that he would want to add. I don't think he meant it as in "the editor wouldn't let me", he meant it as in "this would be my own choice"...
I was wondering, do you know what Peter Kurth would change if he would update "Anastasia"? He hasn't changed his mind about her yet, has he?

Helen



AFAIK, Kurth remains devoted to AA's memory and rejects claims that she was Franziska Schanzkowska. I believe he has said he would be willing to update his book, but that the publisher owns the rights to this. Since PK is great about speaking up for himself, any inaccuracies in my memory can be corrected by him.

I am sorry that Massie is not interested in updating Nicholas and Alexandra. It is by far his best book. Perhaps since ex-wife Suzanne was such a big part of that book, it is not comfortable for him to revisit that work?

Offline Helen_Azar

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 7472
  • Coming up Fall 2015: Tatiana's diaries and letters
    • View Profile
    • War-time diaries of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna Romanov
Re: New study questions identity of Romanov bones
« Reply #428 on: October 25, 2004, 08:46:41 PM »
Apparently Annals of Human Biology just fixed their typo, the name now reads" LA Zhivotovsky  ;) :D

Dashkova

  • Guest
Re: New study questions identity of Romanov bones
« Reply #429 on: October 25, 2004, 08:52:12 PM »
Awwww...how cute...at least *one* of the Knight team still lurks here, when they're not posing as someone else (not difficult to guess which one, either, the one who has time but no knowledge)
LOL.
Thanks Helen, as always for your very informative posts.

Offline daveK

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 124
    • View Profile
Re: New study questions identity of Romanov bones
« Reply #430 on: October 25, 2004, 09:27:51 PM »
----MY SUSPICION: Did Knight hide the failed PCR?--------

When I was looking at the Table in the Knight's study (below), I noticed something bizzare.

------------------FROM KNIGHT's PAPER Table 2------------------
 


PCR Product       No. of clones haplotype
E3 8 16327T, 16357T
2 16327C, 16357T
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It is a common custom among geneticist to present the sequence alignment like the way below. But he showed unnecessarily confusing format (above). Why did he used an odd table to show his data, instead of using a regular format? (Besides, he used wrong nomenclature 16327C/16357T under the word "haplotype", which gives you a wrong impression that there are 2 SNPs (mutation) in the finger sample. It's like he used "04/12/03" to describe "March 12th, 2004").

When I converted his unusual table into a regular table format (see below) with P Gill's result, the reason is obvious.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 











Cambridge Reference Seq HVI*CTGCCCCCACCTTCT
Servant 1 +++++++++++C+++
Servant 2 ++++++++++++C++
Servant 3   ++++T++TG+++C++
Dr Botkin (putative) +++++T+++++++++
Romanov Daughter 1 T+++++++++++++C
Romanov Daughter 2 T+++++++++++++C
Romanov Daughter 3 T+++++++++++++C
Tsarina Alexandra T+++++++++++++C
Prince Philip T+++++++++++++C
Tzar Nicholas II +C+Y+++++TT++++
gg grandndson Loise Hesse C +C+Y+++++TT++++
[tr][td] [finger Knight claims Elizabeth]**  [/td] [td] +A+XXX+++++++T+[/td][/tr]
[tr][td] [contaminated DNA from finger] [/td] [td] T++XXX+++++++++[/td][/tr]

[/table]
(*15 positions in HVI are shown: 16111, 126, 129, 169, 261, 264, 266, 278, 293, 294, 296, 304, 311, 327, 357)
(** “X” indicateds the position where PCR was not performed.)
(“+” indicates no difference from Cambridge Reference)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bring your attention to the symbol XXX in the Knight's sequences (bottom row). More than 100bps are MISSSING which is critical for the HVI comparison. Wouldn't it make sense to think that he didn't use regular format because he wanted to make the "hole" less conspicuous?

Hypervariable region I (HVI) covers about 350bp (mtDNA 16024-16365). He didn't sequence the 106bp middle region 16168-16273. Is it a big deal? YES. For any statistical analysis, you can't pick up your "favorite" region among HVI. Knight might argue that he chose these PCR regions only to check rare mutation 16111T and 16357C. But if he skipped one region on purpose, it indicates a fundamental flaw in his experiment design. He must not draw the conclusion before he begun the experiment, even if he "knew" that “Gill's result was a hoax”. What if DNA from the finger matches to Tsarina's? You must analyze the whole HVI. No reviewers accept this biased methodology which skew any conclusion.

In case you don't know a general PCR method for HVI region. You usually perform three short consective PCRs to cover 340bp region. Each PCR is around 110-120 bp. He did 1st PCR (60-168), and 3rd PCR (273-384). But he missed 2nd PCR between them. Because you need a 20bp overlapping region between 2 PCRs, the missing PCR part is around 126bp size. But why didn't he sequence this part?? It's odd because it doesn't add significant cost or time to do it (two PCR primers costs $16 + shipping).

When I read the method section carefully, this mystery was solved. Knight performed PCR of size 128bp, but it failed (weak signal not good enough for cloning). Knight didn't say that this PCR was for the middle part, but it is logical to think it is. What is disingenuous is that he made it sound like it failed because 128bp was longer than 110bp. This is ridiculous. 1000bp failed because of its size, but 128bp and 110bp are practically the same size.

This failure is critical for the study, because few lab has a problem with this short PCR from as young as 75 years old sample. Many labs are successful with longer 200bp PCR from as old as 3000 years old sample. If they can't perform short 128bp PCR, it indicates that there is something wrong with his method or sample. Either the method was sub-optimized (Appendix 1*) or the sample was extremely degraded. Knight used a odd table to dodge the question to this point,because either reason severly undermine his claim "long PCR product is impossible". if people knew this, they would tell you "Yeah, because your lab messed up PCR!"

I have to emphasize that even if Knight did 2nd PCR in a correct way, his claims cannot be substantiated by his data. Even if he is able to establish the difficulty of long PCR, he still doesn't provide alternative scenario to explain the match between Philip and Romanov DNA. What I wanted pointed out is that his claim is so wrong  in multi-layered way, both in logical and technical ways.    

I may be alienating people by too technical materials. But if anyone is interested in, I reveal another stuff next time.

P.S. Come to think of it, there is no way that Knight skipped 2nd PCR on purpose. Knight still believes that Finger's DNA is the FIRST TRUE ROMANOV DNA. Then he must want to show the whole sequence for the first time to leave his name in history!


---------Appendix 1: Some technical flaws in Knight paper--------------------
There are significant difference between ancient DNA method and fresh DNA method. Knight doesn’t seem to know this. To my knowledge, none of Knight Group including both Stanford and Los Alamos has an experience in ancient DNA. They should have asked the lab who does it, but they didn’t. Unfortunately, they simply applied a method for a fresh DNA, which results in a grossly un-optimized condition for ancient DNA.
1) Ancient DNA samples are usually powdered by grinder with liquid nitrogen to maximize the yield. But Knight just soaked it in proteinase solution.
2) Ancient DNA should be concentrated by Centricon devices during purification. Knight used only ethanol method, which is known to produce low yield DNA and  high impurities which prohibit PCR reaction.
3) PCR should be done with either consecutive two PCR or nested PCR. Knight used Touch-down PCR for unknown reason. (Touch-down PCR is usually used for degenerative PCR or unknown primers.)
4) Knight failed to use an appropriate positve DNA control. He should have used mock-extracted DNA as control and should have done competitive PCR to monitor DNA yield.
5) Finally, the most bizzare part is that Knight didn't repeat P Gill's method, although the reproducing his PCR was the whole point of the study. His protocol was completely different from Gill’s.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by daveK »

Offline RichC

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 757
    • View Profile
Re: New study questions identity of Romanov bones
« Reply #431 on: October 25, 2004, 10:11:05 PM »
Quote
I am sorry that Massie is not interested in updating Nicholas and Alexandra. It is by far his best book. Perhaps since ex-wife Suzanne was such a big part of that book, it is not comfortable for him to revisit that work?



I disagree that Nicholas and Alexandra is by far Massie's best book.  Peter the Great was also a beautifully written story and it won Mr. Massie a Pulitzer Prize in 1980, I believe.  I attended a book signing when Massie published The Final Chapter and he told the group at that time that The Final Chapter would be his last book about N and A.  He said he was moving on to other interests.

I would not want to see Nicholas and Alexandra updated because it is so beautifully told as is.  It was Massie's great gift of storytelling that got me (and MANY other individuals) interested in the history of Russia in the first place.  Sure, recent scholarship has uncovered much new information about N and A but the real value of Nicholas and Alexandra is that Massie was able to bring Nicholas and Alexandra to life for many readers thus making history interesting; something few authors or history professors can do.  He has updated the forward and that seems to be enough.  


Offline LisaDavidson

  • Moderator
  • Velikye Knyaz
  • *****
  • Posts: 2665
    • View Profile
Re: New study questions identity of Romanov bones
« Reply #432 on: October 25, 2004, 10:18:50 PM »
DaveK - I am reading all this and thank you for taking the time to explain all this.

Dashkova

  • Guest
Re: New study questions identity of Romanov bones
« Reply #433 on: October 25, 2004, 10:25:22 PM »
RichC, I agree 100 percent with what you posted about Massie.  I think his Peter the Great is his greatest work, and that N&A is a perfect gem of a book exactly as it is.

And DaveK, I am so grateful for your posts.  I do not always understand the science, but between you and Helen everything is explained in terms I *can* and do understand.  Thank you very much for your efforts.

Offline daveK

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 124
    • View Profile
Re: New study questions identity of Romanov bones
« Reply #434 on: October 25, 2004, 11:37:12 PM »
I added this comment to my previous posting.

P.S. Come to think of it, there is no way that Knight skipped 2nd PCR on purpose. Knight still believes that Finger's DNA is the FIRST TRUE ROMANOV DNA. Then he must want to show the whole sequence for the first time to leave his name in history!