A decade-long investigation by historians Alessandro Vezzosi from Museo Ideale Leonardo Da Vinci and Agnese Sabato President of Associazione Leonardo Da Vinci Heritage, has produced some surprising results regarding the genealogy of Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci. Published by the journal Human Evolution, the study has produced documents that shed light on the certainty of the continuous male line, from father to son, of the Da Vinci family. The study has confirmed that there are 14 living descendants of Leonardo.
The extensive research has tried to fill the gaps of missing information regarding Leonardo’s descendants. The historians have found that Leonardo himself had at least 22 half-brothers but no children. The new unpublished document shows that “Paolo di Leonardo da Vinci da Firenze" was a case of homonymy, while the five family branches are traced from Leonardo’s father, ser Piero from the fifth generation, and half-brother Domenico, representing the sixth generation. Data has been collected on over 225 individuals, since the 15th generation. Speaking to news agency Ansa, Vezzosi said that the living relatives of Leonardo are aged between one and 85. They do not live right in Vinci but in neighbouring municipalities as far as Versilia on the Tuscan coast and they have ordinary jobs like a clerk, a surveyor, or an artisan.
The study has found that the Y chromosome, passed on to male descendants of the Da Vinci family, is known to remain almost unchanged through 25 generations. The study would compare the Y chromosome of living male relatives with that of their ancestors in ancient and modern burial sites to verify the uninterrupted family line and certify Leonardo’s own Y chromosome marker. The research also hopes to find answers to reasons behind Leonardo’s genius, information on his parents’ geographical origins, diet, premature aging, left-handedness, health his physical prowess, and any hereditary diseases, and his extraordinary vision, synaesthesia and other sensory perceptions, mentioned Eurekalert in a press release.
The study is an impressive 690-year genealogical investigation with the international Leonardo da Vinci DNA project, supported by The Richard Lounsbery Foundation. This ambitious project also involves the J. Craig Venter Institute of La Jolla, California and several other universities and research centers, including the Department of Biology of the University of Florence, directed by David Caramelli.