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The winter of our DNA delight.


Scientists at the University of Leicester in England announced Monday that they have definitively identified the remains found beneath an old church last summer as those of King Richard III, the last of the Plantagenets.

Shakespeare didn't give very good press to Richard. In the opening speech of "The Tragedy of King Richard the Third," published in 1591, the Bard of Avon has his title character declare: "I, that am curtailed of this fair proportion, / Cheated of feature by dissembling nature, / Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time / Into this breathing world, scarce half made up, / And that so lamely and unfashionable / That dogs bark at me as I halt by them..."

Now, more than five centuries after his death at the Battle of Bosworth Field, King Richard III is something else: He is found.

The remains, including a curved spine indicating severe scoliosis, and damage to the skull consistent with fatal wounds received in battle, made a strong case that it was indeed Richard. Analysis of DNA from the bones, compared to a sample from a living descendant of Richard's sister, Anne, confirmed the discovery beyond reasonable doubt.

History is sure to take another look at Richard III now, and perhaps will temper Shakespeare's characterization. In death, no man could ask for more.
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Title Annotation:EDITORIAL
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Feb 6, 2013
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