A scientist has joined forces with a religious scholar to try and find a DNA sample from Jesus himself.

Geneticist George Busby, from Oxford University, travelled to Israel and the Black Sea in order to search for a genetic link to Jesus Christ. Working with Pastor Joe Basile, the project was screened on the History Channel on Easter Sunday in a documentary called The Jesus Strand.

The team studied a number of artefacts, including bones which were discovered in Bulgaria in 2010 and are thought to belong to John the Baptist. If the remains really are John’s, they would provide clues to the DNA of Jesus as the two men were biological cousins.

The researchers also looked at other artefacts including the Turin Shroud, which some believe was used to wrap the body of Jesus after he was crucified.

Dr Busby, in an article he wrote for The Conversation, said: “Kasimir Popkonstantinov discovered what he believes are the bones of one of the most famous of all saints: John the Baptist. I was interested in what DNA analysis could tell us about these bones, and other ones.

“The finding is hugely important, partly because John the Baptist was both a disciple of Jesus and his cousin – meaning they would share DNA.”

Evidence from relics will be compared

He added: “We can compare the DNA from a relic to DNA from other relics. If we find other relics purported to be from John the Baptist, or a close relative of Jesus, then we could use genetics to compare the two to see if they are likely to have come from the same or related people.

‘Also, we have growing collections of DNA sampled form people around the world, which we can use to make a guess on the geographical origins of the relics.”

When two individuals are biologically related to each other, they share some of the same DNA. It is this genetic link which means tests can determine whether two people are related to each other or not.

AlphaBiolabs offers a range of DNA testing, including paternity and maternity tests. Tests can also be carried out to determine other biological relationships, including whether two people are siblings.

Y chromosome testing can identify whether men are related to each other by the same paternal line as the Y chromosome is passed from father to son unchanged, only mutating once every 10,000 years.