Molecular genetic analysis on the remains of the Dark Countess: Revisiting the French Royal family

The "Dark Counts" were a mysterious couple that appeared in the Thuringian village Eishausen in 1807. After living in self imposed solitude for 30 years the woman died and was buried under the name Sophia Botta. Her companion, who presented himself as Vavel de Versay, died in 1845 and was later identified as Leonardus Cornelius van der Valck, secretary of the Dutch embassy in Paris. Their lifestyle led to speculations that she was the true princess Marie Therese Charlotte of France, daughter of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. According to these speculations she was substituted by another young woman on a voyage from Paris to Vienna. Molecular genetic analyses were set out to test the remains attributed to the Dark Countess. Mitochondrial DNA testing brought concordant results determined in two forensic laboratories (Innsbruck, Austria and Freiburg, Germany) on parallel samples of the remains. The results were in exclusion to both, the mitochondrial lineage earlier reported for the French Royal family and the mitochondrial haplotype observed in a living descendant of the Royal family.
Forensic Sci Int Genet 2015 19:252-4
Tags: EMPOP;
PubMed: 26344900
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