In the Science Direct (2006) article “The Last King: A royal maternity case solved by ancient DNA analysis” the author’s Jorgan Dissing, Jonas Binladen, Anders Hansen, Birgitte Sejrsen, Eske Willerslev and Niels Lynnerup informs the reader about the last Danish Viking Kings, Sven Estriden who died in A.D. 1074 and was entombed in the Roskilde Cathedral. The problem on hand and what the author’s make an attempt to reveal is whether or not Sven Estriden’s mother, Estrid was entombed in the pillar across the chancel, as there have been many doubts among historians whether the woman was indeed Estrid or someone else. To find whether Estrin was the actual mother, the author’s used variety of different tests and methods. The analysis done by these proficient authors included, DNA extraction methods and examination of skeletons while taking the most special care to ensure nothing got damaged proving that the woman buried was not Sven’s mother.
The ‘Last Viking King’ is written by a number of authors who have very prestigious academic backgrounds. There is in fact, no doubt that there is no shortage of professionals represented in regard to this scientific endeavor. Within this article the reader is given the academic departments that the authors are associated with; Jorgen Dissing is associated with the Research Laboratory, Jonas Binladen in the Department of Evolutionary Biology, Anders Hansen is associated with the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Department of Forensic Pathology, Birgitte Sejrsen is associated with the Department of Forensic Pathology, Eske Willersley the Center for Evolutionary Genetics and last but not least Niels Lynnerup who is affiliated with the Antrophological Laboratory. Between these authors, four are from the Institute of Forensic Medicine, one author is from the Biological Institute and the last author is from the Niels Bohr Institute. All six author’s are from the University of Copenhagen located in Denmark, which has produced 8 Noble Prize winners and the university itself has been ranked 44th in the world. (University of Copenhagen, 2012) With such variation of researchers in different fields the author’s worked in, it may have been reasonable to find some researcher’s from another university to contribute and also have actual author’s who had worked in the area of writing to help out. By no means do these authors fall short in terms of their qualifications and areas of expertise and one can only be reassured these author’s were more than certified in doing this study, but in terms of writing the article may have been more appealing if one of the author’s had a background history in writing.
In order to answer the question “Was the individual in the tomb indeed Sven’s mother Estrid?” the author’s used different methods that included extracting DNA, and examining skeletons to help them on their quest to find the answer. The first method consisted of extracting DNA from tooth samples. In order to do extraction of DNA, most methods are designed to deal with fresh tissues containing high molecular weight DNA and intact cells. (Nature Publishing Group, 2007) In ancient specimens there is usually no cell structure that are preserved due to extraordinary time periods the specimen has gone through. (Nature Publishing Group, 2007) So incases of ancient DNA extraction bone and teeth samples may be used to help extract potential DNA. In the case of this article, two teeth, the cannies and premolars, were extracted from both King Sven’s skull, and two from the skull perceived to be Sven’s mother Estrid. The researchers methods of extracted DNA came from their tooth samples, by using one tooth at a time. Some of the main stages the tooth went through included; being cleaned with a paper clutch soaked in 10% commercial bleach and UV-irradiated for 20 minutes on each side. Then the surface of the tooth was sealed by the application of two layers of cellulose lacquer. From there the root...
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