Genetic marker reveals descendants of medieval king

By Editor, 27 May 2016 - 10:47am

A DNA study has uncovered a genetic marker that will help researchers confirm if they are descended from a medieval Scottish king

Archie Shaw Stewart descended from King Robert III of Scotland

Archie Shaw Stewart has a genetic marker that comes from descendants of King Robert III of Scotland (Photo: University of Strathclyde/Getty Images)

A DNA study led by the University of Strathclyde has uncovered a genetic marker that will help researchers confirm if they are descended from King Robert III, who ruled Scotland from 1390 to 1406.

Scottish businessman Archie Shaw Stewart, who offered a sample of his DNA as part of the study, was delighted to have his family’s research confirmed. “It’s wonderful to be able to discriminate with a high level of confidence between some branches of families by the ability to trace genetic mutations,” he explained.

“My great uncle, Patrick Shaw Stewart, produced an extensive family tree more than 100 years ago, extending back to Robert III. He would be very satisfied to see this part of it verified by new technology.”

The discovery has been made as part of the Bannockburn Family History Project, which explores genetic connections between people living today and their ancestors who fought in the Battle. It is run by the Genealogical Studies Postgraduate Programme at Strathclyde’s Centre for Lifelong Learning.

Graham Holton, Principal Tutor with the programme, said: “This is a fascinating discovery of a distinct marker for descendants of Robert III.

“The marker is not found in descendants of the king’s brothers, showing that a mutation in the DNA occurred in either Robert III himself or one of his descendants. It is not yet known in which generation this took place, but we are delighted to have been able to confirm Archie Shaw Stewart’s place in medieval royal lineage, and acknowledge his contribution to furthering research into the branches of the Stewarts.”

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