Thursday, June 1, 2017


A NEW DNA analysis of Ancient Egyptians shows they were less African and more Mediterranean than modern Egyptians are now.

The influx of sub-Saharan genes came after Roman rule in Egypt, according to German geneticists.

The team of scientists has recovered and analyzed ancient DNA from Egyptian mummies dating from approximately 1400 BC to 400 AD and they discovered they were genetically similar to people from the Mediterranean.

Researchers from the University of Tuebingen and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, conducted the first study to establish a proper genetic database to study the ancient past.

The study, published in Nature Communications, found that modern Egyptians share more ancestry with Sub-Saharan Africans than Ancient Egyptians did.

They also discovered ancient Egyptians were found to be most closely related to ancient people from the Near East.

Egypt is a promising location for the study of ancient populations, because it was a world-wide trading hub.

Recent advances in the study of ancient DNA present an intriguing opportunity to test existing understandings of Egyptian history using ancient genetic data.

Max Planck Director for the Science of Human History and senior author Johannes Krause said: "The potential preservation of DNA has to be regarded with skepticism.

"The hot Egyptian climate, the high humidity levels in many tombs and some of the chemicals used in mummification techniques, contribute to DNA degradation and are thought to make the long-term survival of DNA in Egyptian mummies unlikely."

The ability of the authors of this study to extract nuclear DNA from such mummies and to show its reliability is a breakthrough that opens the door to further direct study of mummified remains.

The team sampled 151 mummified individuals from the archaeological site of Abusir el-Meleq, along the Nile River in Middle Egypt, from two anthropological collections hosted and curated at the University of Tuebingen and the Felix von Luschan Skull Collection at the Museum of Prehistory of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Stiftung Preussicher Kulturbesitz.

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