Researchers uncover genetic Lincoln family secret
Now, researchers at the University of Minnesota have uncovered a genetic secret that has plagued the Lincoln family for at least 11 generations: a mutation that causes a form of ataxia, a crippling neurological disease.
The discovery could shed new light on the causes of a number of similar diseases, said Laura Ranum, a university geneticist who led the research project.
But on a historic level, she said, it also raises intriguing new questions about the 16th president, whose health has long been a topic of speculation.
Ranum, who has studied the Lincoln family since 1992, doesn't know whether the president carried the defective gene.
But through genetic detective work, she and her colleagues studied 300 distant cousins of the president (he has no living descendents himself; the last, Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, died in 1985). They found that about a third have ataxia, including Smith, of Manteca, Calif.
comments powered by Disqus
- Harvard acquires Thoreau's notes on the death of Margaret Fuller
- It’s a national historic site, but hardly anybody visits the Idaho internment camp where thousands of Japanese Americans were incarcerated in WW II
- Big-time Hollywood director makes a movie about Stonewall
- HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later
- A salute lost to history
- High school senior credited with debunking book by Professor Richard Jensen
- Historians at loggerheads over the AP standards
- Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
- U.K. Released Hundreds of Nazis After the Holocaust, Says Leading Historian
- NYT History Book Reviews: Who Got Noticed this Week?