Affordable Access

Genetic characterization of the body attributed to the evangelist Luke

Authors
Publisher
The National Academy of Sciences
Publication Date
Source
PMC
Keywords
  • Biological Sciences
Disciplines
  • Biology

Abstract

Historical sources indicate that the evangelist Luke was born in Syria, died in Greece, and then his body was transferred to Constantinople, and from there to Padua, Italy. To understand whether there is any biological evidence supporting a Syrian origin of the Padua body traditionally attributed to Luke, or a replacement in Greece or Turkey, the mtDNA was extracted from two teeth and its control region was cloned and typed. The sequence determined in multiple clones is an uncommon variant of a set of alleles that are common in the Mediterranean region. We also collected and typed modern samples from Syria and Greece. By comparison with these population samples, and with samples from Anatolia that were already available in the literature, we could reject the hypothesis that the body belonged to a Greek, rather than a Syrian, individual. However, the probability of an origin in the area of modern Turkey was only insignificantly lower than the probability of a Syrian origin. The genetic evidence is therefore compatible with the possibility that the body comes from Syria, but also with its replacement in Constantinople.

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.