Napoleon the First, a Corsican with Pale Skin, Clear Eyes and Red Hair: DNA Evidence for these Phenotypic Traits

Napoleon the First, a Corsican with Pale Skin, Clear Eyes and Red Hair: DNA Evidence for these Phenotypic Traits

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Author(s): Gérard Lucotte, Jacques Macé, Thierry Thomasset

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DOI: 10.18483/ijSci.2476 37 503 1-5 Volume 10 - Jul 2021


Objective: We report the results we obtained on DNA concerning the colours of the face, of the eyes and of the hairs of Napoléon the First (1769-1821). Methods: His genomic DNA was previously extracted from one of her authenticated hair lock (dating from 1811). The DNA polymorphisms tested were those of the MATP gene for the skin colour, and of the rs 12913822 in intron 86 of the HERC2 for the eye colour ; for hair colour, the entire DNA sequence of the MC1-R gene was studied, in the search of alleles responsible of the red hair. Results: The genomic DNA is homozygous FF for the F374L polymorphism of the MATPgene ; consequently, Napoléon had a pale face. It is also homozygous CC for the rs12913822 polymorphism ; it results that he had a 99% probability of having clear (blue or green) eyes. The examination of the complete DNA sequence of the MC1-R gene shows the Napoléon genomic DNA is heterozygous CG for the rs1805009 polymorphism , that corresponding to the D294H mutation which is the most frequent of the three common mutations of the gene causing red hairs. Conclusions: According to results obtained on genotypic studies, Napoléon was of the phenotype : pale skin of the face, blue or grey colours of the eyes, and with red hairs. These distinctive features can be observed on a picture of Napoléon dating from 1803, and was also reported by several of the Napoléon’s contemporaries.


Napoléon the First, Genomic DNA, Predictions about Colours of the Skin, the Eyes and the Hairs


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International Journal of Sciences is Open Access Journal.
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License.
Author(s) retain the copyrights of this article, though, publication rights are with Alkhaer Publications.

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