08-14-2011, 06:45 PM
Quote:We've got the same mummy! Up to 70% of British men are 'related' to the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 1:05 PM on 4th August 2011
A Swiss genetics company has claimed that up to 70 per cent of British men are related to the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun.
Scientists at Zurich-based DNA genealogy centre, iGENEA, say they have reconstructed the DNA profile of the boy Pharaoh based on a film that was made for the Discovery Channel.
The results showed that 'King Tut' belonged to a genetic profile group, known as haplogroup R1b1a2, to which more than 50 per cent of all men in Western Europe belong, indicating that they share a common ancestor.
Among modern-day Egyptians this haplogroup contingent is below 1 per cent, according to iGENEA.
'It was very interesting to discover that he belonged to a genetic group in Europe - there were many possible groups in Egypt that the DNA could have belonged to,' said Roman Scholz, director of the iGENEA Centre.
Around 70 per cent of Spanish and 60 per cent of French men also belong to the genetic group of the Pharaoh who ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago.
'We think the common ancestor lived in the Caucasus about 9,500 years ago,' said Scholz.
It is estimated that the earliest migration of haplogroup R1b1a2 into Europe began with the spread of agriculture in 7,000 BC, according to iGENEA.
However, the geneticists were not sure how Tutankhamun's paternal lineage came to Egypt from its region of origin.
The centre is now using DNA testing to search for the closest living relatives of King Tut, offering people a refund on their on the cost of their personal genetics test ($179-$399) if they prove to be related.
'The offer has only been publicised for three days but we have already seen a lot of interest,' said Scholz.
However, the company has been criticised by the team that produced the documentary for the Discovery Channel, claiming they did not display enough information on screen for the iGENEA geneticists to carry out that task.
Carsten Pusch, a geneticist at the University of Tubingen in Germany, was part of the team that constructed King Tut's DNA from samples taken from his mummified remains, and those of his relatives.
Pusch said that iGENEA's claims are 'simply impossible' because they did not publish the data for Tut's Y-chomosome - found only in males - which would reveal his male descendants, and accused the company of a marketing gimmick.
Gimmick or not, people are already bringing up the old debates of the ethnicity of the ancient Egyptians. I think, if true, that it simply shows, once again, how societal elites tend to be foreigners ruling over an indigenous population.