Columbus DNA informatics

An article in the Washington Post by Guy Gugliotta discusses the identity of Christopher Columbus, on the 500th anniversary of his death.

To commemorate this event, researchers led by Spanish forensic pathologist José Antonio Lorente Acosta are comparing the DNA of Columbus's illegitimate son, Fernando, with DNA from hundreds of possible Columbus descendants in at least three countries.
The goal is to determine once and for all whether Columbus, as traditionalists hold, was the son of Genoese wool weaver Domenico Colombo, or was instead a Spaniard named Colon; or a Catalan Colom, from Barcelona; or a French Coulom or Colomb; or perhaps Corsican or Mallorcan.

This is all building up suspense for a release of the findings on Saturday.

They wanted to sample DNA from the bones at two different gravesites attributed to Columbus, one in Seville and one in the Dominican Republic. But it didn't work out:

The plan foundered because there were not enough remains from Seville to provide conclusive DNA samples, and the Dominican government refused to let the team examine the bones there, telling Lorente he had been authorized only to evaluate the "state of preservation of the admiral's remains," not take samples.

Good for them, I say! Maybe they heard about the Mozart fiasco.

I quite like the informatic approach they have ended up -- it seems like sampling everybody in Europe they could find with a name like "Columbus." Even so, it has a good chance of not working, so there is some suspense.

There's a lot more in the article about the textual evidence for Columbus' origins and the reasons for him to have been secretive about it.