Search for ancient DNA goes well

FIRST steps to try and find DNA belonging to a founding father of America in Suffolk have today been hailed as a success.Two churches in the county have become the centre of interest in the Church of England's search for DNA of Captain Bartholomew Gosnold who established the Jamestown settlement in what is now Virginia.

FIRST steps to try and find DNA belonging to a founding father of America in Suffolk have today been hailed as a success.

Two churches in the county have become the centre of interest in the Church of England's search for DNA of Captain Bartholomew Gosnold who established the Jamestown settlement in what is now Virginia.

A team of scientific experts carried out radar surveys at St Peter and St Mary's church, Stowmarket, and Shelley's All Saints church, yesterday looking for remains of Gosnold's relatives which could link him to recently discovered remains in Virginia.

Results of the survey are due out by the end of March and could give the go-ahead to the burials being dug up in late spring.

Nick Clarke, from the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, said: "All the data needed was collected, so in that sense it was a success.

"It took the best part of five hours to do the work."

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The diocese has stressed this is the first step, and there are a number of legal and other hurdles to cross.

Gosnold, who lived in Bury St Edmunds, was the principal promoter, vice-admiral and one of the most influential leaders of the Jamestown colony, which eventually gave birth to the development of the USA.

America's English language, rule of law and representative government are all said to have evolved from the pioneering efforts of Gosnold and others at Jamestown.

The Association for the preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA Preservation Virginia) has excavated the remains of a 17th century sea captain, believed to be Gosnold.

It is seeking to archeologically obtain DNA bone samples from Gosnold's sister, buried in Shelley and niece, believed to be buried in Stowmarket.

The project is being funded by the National Geographic Society and if DNA samples can be found the result of comparative tests will be shown in a documentary transmitted in November 2005.

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