Researchers identify 14 living descendants of Leonardo da Vinci's family
By Rachel Trent, CNN
(CNN) -- Decades-long research into Leonardo da Vinci's purported remains has revealed how many people currently alive can claim to be descendants of the family of the Renaissance genius and Mona Lisa painter:
The conclusion, published in the journal Human Evolution this month, comes from a new genealogical tree going through 21 generations and four branches.
It's part of the Leonardo Da Vinci DNA Project, which aims to confirm remains thought to be his and to "better understand his extraordinary talents and visual acuity through genetic associations."
The researchers wrote these results are "eagerly awaited from an historical viewpoint" as they will help researchers "scientifically explore the roots of his genius, to find information on his physical prowess and on his possibly precocious ageing, on his being left-handed and his health and possible hereditary sicknesses, and to explain certain peculiar sensory perceptions, like his extraordinary visual quality and synesthesia."
Researchers gathered data from historical documents in public and private archives and direct accounts by da Vinci descendants.
The study did not provide much information on the living descendants to protect their privacy.
Born in 1452, da Vinci is known for his paintings of Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. Da Vinci also dedicated his time to science, math, architecture, design, engineering, geology, cartography, sculpting and drawing.
His artwork continues to elicit hefty payments from fans.
Last year, an online bidder paid $98,000 to attend the annual examination of the Mona Lisa, when the Louvre museum in Paris takes the painting out of its case for inspection.
Earlier this month, a new auction record was set when a tiny sketch of a bear sold for more than $12 million.
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