Leonardo da Vinci was an Italian polymath and a man of the Fifth Renaissance. He was a painter, an architect, a theorist and a scientist known for his works of art and the complete invention of his notebooks. Over the years, a project has continued to follow its descendants – and it has traced at least 14. These results from the Leonardo da Vinci DNA project have been published in the Journal of Human Evolution. The goal of the project is to ensure that the remains found in Ambois Castle, which were supposed to be his, are actually his own.
But even in the case of genomic analysis of him and his descendants, it can grow to understand whether there is genetic association with his incredible talent and visual acuity. The paper made the previous work in an attempt to create a proper family tree of the Da Vinci or Vinci family to living relatives from Leonardo’s ancestors. The new study identifies 14 male surviving relatives, aged 85 to one year, all of them from Tuscany, mostly from families around the city of Vinci.
These relationships have connected 35 other descendants – both male and female – who were identified in 2016 as the new “cohort” made up of people with the same Y chromosome. The chromosome did not change for about 25 generations, and so researchers were able to return to Leonardo’s ancestor – Michel da Vinci, as the sixth generation of the family, and finally to the twenty-first generation of living descendants. None of this is a direct descendant of Leonardo himself, who has no children. Many historians and biographers believe he was gay. Some would say that it would be inappropriate to suggest him as “gay”, as this is a modern label – but we often identify him as heterosexual without considering the sexuality of the child, so this deviation is important.
When he was 23, Leonardo was arrested along with three others for physical abuse. Although the case was dismissed due to lack of evidence, he is believed to have spent time in jail for it. It inspired two discoveries: one to open the gel from the inside and one to break the bar from the window. Talk about direct action.