There’s a surprising new wrinkle in the story of the celebrated Shroud of Turin. A group of Italian researchers have found that the 14-foot-long garment — believed by some to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, even though science has proven that’s not the case —contains DNA from plants found all over Earth. “Here we report the main findings from the analysis of genomic DNA extracted from dust particles vacuumed from parts of the body image and the lateral edge used for radiocarbon dating,” Dr. Gianni Barcaccia, a plant genetics and genomics professor at the University of Padova in Italy, wrote in a paper co-authored with his colleagues about the DNA results.

After sequencing the DNA of pollen and dust found on the shroud, the researchers discovered several plant groups native to the Mediterranean, reported. Other groups were linked to Asia, the Middle East, or the Americas, but must have been introduced at a time later than the Medieval period, according to the researchers. CONTINUE