December 23, 2011

King Tut’s DNA and Ancestry

  Scientists at Zurich-based DNA genealogy center, iGENEA, claim they have reconstructed the DNA profile of King Tut, his father Akhenaten and grandfather Amenhotep III. The researchers say they believe King Tut belonged to a genetic profile group known as haplogroup R1b1a2. More than 50 per cent of all men in Western Europe belong to this genetic group as do up to 70 per cent of British men. But among modern-day Egyptians, less than 1 per cent of residents belong to this haplogroup, according to scientists. Researchers say it’s likely that King Tut and Europeans share a common ancestor who lived in the Caucasus region about 9,500 years ago. The geneticists were not sure how Tutankhamun’s paternal lineage came to Egypt from its region of origin, though it is clear that technology such as chariots and domesticated horses was introduced from a foreign source.

  Along with the discovery, iGENEA made another announcement this week: the company will conduct testing to find which modern-day European is the closest living relative of King Tut. “The offer has only been publicized for three days but we have already seen a lot of interest,” Roman Scholz, director of the iGENEA Centre.