Skip to content
Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

'Could we track down the DNA of the Messiah?' - A pastor and a scientist team up in the hunt for Jesus' DNA

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

4/18/2017 (1 year ago)
Catholic Online (

'[F]or the first time in history a man of faith and a man of science are teaming up to search for Jesus' DNA.'

The History Channel released a new documentary called "The Jesus Strand," in which scientists work with a man of the cloth to hunt for Jesus Christ's DNA.

Will scientists discover who shares Jesus' DNA?

Will scientists discover who shares Jesus' DNA?


Catholic Online (
4/18/2017 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Jesus, DNA, John the Baptist, Finding Jesus

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The History Channel explains it will use "the latest advances in DNA technology" to investigate the recently discovered bones of John the Baptist, Jesus' cousin.

By investigating John the Baptist's DNA, researchers hope to uncover who could be related to the Messiah.

Oxford University geneticist George Busby and biblical scholar Joe Basile worked side-by-side throughout Europe and the Middle East in their trek from holy site to holy site.

Busby wrote a piece for The Conversation to explain their journey to the Black Sea, off the coast of Bulgaria.

The researchers were in Sveti Ivan to speak to archaeologist Kasimir Popkonstantinov, who believes he discovered the bones of John the Baptist.

Working with Basile, Busby quickly discovered several problems with the search for Jesus' DNA.

The duo was working with bones that may or may not have belonged to John the Baptist. There is no way to unambiguously determine whether the bones are legitimate or not.

The second problem they encountered was the risk of contamination.

The ideal sample would come from a body that has not been touched since the person died, but the bones believed to belong to John the Baptist have been sealed in a church and could have been handled by anyone, which would leave their DNA behind.

DNA also degrades over time, but modern technology can take samples from within the bone and tell the difference between modern and ancient samples.

Material from the James Ossuary, which scientists believe carried the remains of Jesus

Material from the James Ossuary, which scientists believe carried the remains of Jesus's brother, is currently being sequenced by geneticists (Wikipedia).

The tech is also capable of offering researchers greater odds at estimating the geographical origins of the samples.

Radiocarbon dating suggested the bones Popkonstantinov discovered were 2,000-years-old and appeared to show a DNA sequence matching Middle Eastern populations.

The geneticist who conducted the research also discovered the DNA sequence on John the Baptist matched the person who had extracted the bones, which means the samples were contaminated.

Sadly, there was very little DNA available, leaving researchers questioning if it would ever be possible to accurately identify whether the bones belong to John the Baptist.

To help pinpoint DNA related to Jesus, the team researched samples found on The Turin Shroud, which is believed to have wrapped Jesus' body when he was removed from the cross.

There were multiple DNA samples from the shroud, but Basile and Busby met with the researchers anyway.

In Jerusalem they met with a man sequencing DNA from the James Ossuary, a chalk box scientists believe to contain the bones of Jesus' brother - But it should be noted the Catholic Church emphatically teaches against the possibility of Jesus having any siblings.

Unsurprisingly, researchers were unable to positively identify the remains but the documentary probes the possibility regardless.

The film, which runs 1 hour and 24 minutes, would seem to be more of an investigation than anything and concludes with more questions than answers, but remains a point of interest for millions around the world.

"The Jesus Strand" was released Easter Sunday and is available to watch through May 22.


'Help Give every Student and Teacher FREE resources for a world-class Moral Catholic Education'

Copyright 2019 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2019
Young People and the Example of Mary.
That young people, especially in Latin America, follow the example of Mary and respond to the call of the Lord to communicate the joy of the Gospel to the world.


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.