§ Mr. David Atkinson
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the outcome of his Department's tests at Aldermaston to identify bones brought from Russia.
§ Mr. Charles Wardle
I have asked the chief executive of the Forensic Science Service to reply and she will do so shortly. A copy of her reply will be placed in the Library.
Letter from Dr. Janet Thompson to Mr. David Atkinson, undated:
You recently tabled a Parliamentary Question about the joint Russian British project to identify remains purported to be those of Tsar Nicholas II and his family. As you know, the arrangement now is that the Chief Executive of an Executive Agency, with the agreement of the Minister, replies to Members of Parliament on operational matters. I am therefore replying on behalf of the Home Office Forensic Science Service (FSS).
Samples of the remains discovered near Ekaterinburg in July 1991 were brought to Britain in September by Dr. Pavel Ivanov of the Bureau of the Chief Forensic Medical 553W Examiner, Russian Ministry of Health. Work carried out in Russia had lead to a tentative identification but Russian forensic authorities sought the assistance of the FSS in applying the Polymerase Chain Reaction DNA technique to the samples.
Extraction of DNA from the samples was successful. Comparison with DNA from known relatives of the Romanov family, and statistical analysis of the findings, is at present being undertaken at the FSS's Research Laboratory in Aldermaston. We expect to announce the results of the project in the summer.
The work also forms part of the FSS research programme. If validated, the techniques used will be applied to criminal casework and will extend the range of services we provide.