Spain 2008: Tumba de Cristobal Colon, Catedral de Sevilla

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DNA verifies Columbus’ remains in Spain
Spanish bones linked to explorer, but Dominican claim could still be valid

MADRID, Spain - Spanish researchers said Friday that they have resolved a century-old mystery surrounding Christopher Columbus's burial place, which both Spain and the Dominican Republic claim to be watching over.

Their verdict: Spain's got the right bones.

A forensic team led by Spanish geneticist Jose Antonio Lorente compared DNA from bone fragments that Spain says are from the explorer — and are buried in a cathedral in Seville — with DNA extracted from remains known to be from Columbus' brother Diego, who is also buried in the southern Spanish city.

"There is absolute matchup between the mitochondrial DNA we have studied from Columbus' brother and Christopher Columbus," said Marcial Castro, a Seville-area historian and high school teacher who is the mastermind behind the project, which began in 2002. Mitochondria are cell components rich in DNA.

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