New tests prove Bergman DNA claims false

TT/Rebecca Martin
TT/Rebecca Martin - [email protected]
New tests prove Bergman DNA claims false

The DNA tests claimed to prove that world-renowned director Ingmar Bergman had another biological mother were false, according to a new study.


Swedish tech weekly Ny Teknik has shown, after conducting new tests on stamps, that what was believed to be Bergman’s DNA in fact came from a laboratory technician.

The news that Bergman was not his mother's biological son caused a storm of worldwide media interest when the results of an investigation were published in May.

A DNA test instigated by Bergman’s niece Veronica Ralston and carried out be Sweden’s National Board of Forensic Medicine (Rättsmedicinalverket, RMV) claimed to show that the director could not be related to his mother Karin.

The authority conducted a so-called mitochondrial DNA analysis, which shows related links to the mother.

From the analysis, scientists believed that the tests proved that Veronica Ralston and the person who licked the stamps had different mitochondrial DNA.

The revelations were later published in a new book by Ralston, "Kärleksbarnet och bort­bytingen" ('The love child and the changeling'). In the book she also attempted to offer an explanation for what happened.

However, new tests have shown that the DNA profile extracted from one of the stamps comes from one of the scientists at the lab.

The same lab technician also contaminated two further stamp tests that Ny Teknik instigated at the request of Ralston.

At the forensic authority the scientists have no idea how the employee’s DNA could contaminate Ingmar Bergman’s stamps.

“We don’t actually know. But these tests are very, very sensitive,“ said Gunilla Holmlund, forensic scientist at the authority, to Ny Teknik.

Johan Ahlner, head of operations at the authority, decided on Monday to review the procedures of how analyses of stamps are carried out at the lab.


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