In 1979, bones found outside Ekaterinburg, Russia, were shown to be those of Tsar Nicholas and his family, who were executed in 1918 by a Bolshevik firing squad in the Russian Revolution . To prove that the skeletons were those of the royal family, mtDNA was extracted from the bone samples, amplified by PCR, and compared with mtDNA from living relatives of the tsar’s family. Q. Why was DNA from the mitochondria analyzed instead of nuclear DNA? What are some of the advantages of using mtDNA for this type of study?

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In 1979, bones found outside Ekaterinburg, Russia, were shown to be those of Tsar Nicholas and his family, who were executed in 1918 by a Bolshevik firing squad in the Russian Revolution . To prove that the skeletons were those of the royal family, mtDNA was extracted from the bone samples, amplified by PCR, and compared with mtDNA from living relatives of the tsar’s family.

Q. Why was DNA from the mitochondria analyzed instead of nuclear DNA? What are some of the advantages of using mtDNA for this type of study?

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