DNA analyses of the remains of the Prince Branciforte Barresi family

Int J Legal Med. 2001;114(3):141-6. doi: 10.1007/s004149900119.


The five skeletons found buried in the church of Militello di Catania, Sicily, were tentatively identified by morphological analysis and historical reports as the remains of Prince Branciforte Barresi, two of his children, his brother and another juvenile member of the family (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries). In order to attempt to clarify the degree of relationships of the five skeletons, sex testing and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence analysis of the hypervariable segments I and II (HV1 and HV2) of control region were performed. Moreover, the 9 bp-deletion marker of region V (COII/tRNAlys) was examined. Molecular genetic analyses were consistent with historical expectations, although they did not directly demonstrate that these are in fact the remains of the Prince and his relatives, due to the impossibility of obtaining DNA from living maternal relatives of the Prince.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bone and Bones / pathology
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / analysis*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • Famous Persons*
  • Female
  • Forensic Anthropology / methods*
  • History, 16th Century
  • History, 17th Century
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Regulatory Sequences, Nucleic Acid / genetics*
  • Sex Determination Analysis / methods*
  • Sicily


  • DNA, Mitochondrial

Personal name as subject

  • F B Barresi
  • None Barresi family