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Scientists make surprising discovery after studying DNA of ancient Egyptian Mummies

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Scientists make surprising discovery after studying DNA of ancient Egyptian Mummies

Long story short? The first ever full-genome analysis of Ancient Egyptian mummies has shown they were closely related to populations from the Mediterranean. Some would say this is a history changer.

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Even though scientists believed that Ancient Egyptian mummies were all our of DNA, they were wrong. A new study has revealed fascainting—and totally unexpected—results.

According to reports, the first ever full-genome analysis of Ancient Egyptian mummies has shown that they were more Turkish and European than Africa.

Experts studied ancient DNA from Egyptian mummies from around 1400 BC to around 400 AD finding that they shared genes with people who originate from the Mediterranean.

Experts discovered that ancient Egyptian mummies were closely related to ancient people in the Levant, modern-day Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon.

The discovery has come as a surprise to many experts.

The sequencing success, reported in Nature Communications, “finally proves to everyone that there’s DNA preserved in ancient Egyptian mummies,” says Albert Zink, a biological anthropologist at the Institute for Mummy Studies in Bolzano, Italy.

According to sciencemag.org, he participated in a 2010 study that identified DNA sequences from 16 ancient Egyptian royal mummies, including Tutankhamun. But that study used polymerase chain reaction, a method that efficiently finds and extracts targeted DNA fragments but cannot always reliably distinguish between ancient DNA and modern contamination.

The researcher’s goals were to establish a comprehensive genetic database to study the ancient past of Egypt for the first time ever.

The ‘history-changing’ study was performed by Johannes Krause, a geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, using state-of-the-art sequencing methods to read stretches of any DNA present in a sample and fish out those that resembled human DNA.

Speaking to Mail Online, Johannes Krause said: “The population history of Egypt is complex because it is found at the ispus of Africa, the gateway to a continent, and has seen much historical turnover, Ancient Egypt in the 1millenium BC had been dominated by many foreign powers.”

“It has been much debated whether foreign dominations such as Assyrians, Nubians, Greeks or Romans changed the gene pool of ancient Europe, making them more or less African. “We wanted to test that and found that there is genetic continuity between the old kingdom and Roman period. However in the last 1,500 years, Egypt became more genetically African, whereas the ancient Egyptians showed almost no sub-Saharan African ancestry and high affinity to ancient Near Eastern and European populations,” Professor Krause added.

This illustration displays the main areas of immigrant populations that contributed to Egyptian heritage between 1400 BCE and 400 CE, according to the new study.

Professor Krause’s team sampled 151 mummies from the archaeological site of Abusir and managed to extract accurate full-genome DNA data from three ancient Egyptian mummies, and usable segments of DNA from 90 other mummies, reports Mail Online.

The full study allowed experts to locate telltale damage patterns associated with ancient DNA, making the new study’s results much more effective and accurate than those of any mummy DNA studies before.

According to the Max Planck Institue for the science of human history, the study found that ancient Egyptians were most closely related to ancient populations in the Levant, and were also closely related to Neolithic populations from the Anatolian Peninsula and Europe. “The genetics of the Abusir el-Meleq community did not undergo any major shifts during the 1,300-year time span we studied, suggesting that the population remained genetically relatively unaffected by foreign conquest and rule,” says Wolfgang Haak, group leader at the Max-Planck-Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena.

“In particular, we were interested in looking at changes and continuities in the genetic makeup of the ancient inhabitants of Abusir el-Meleq.We wanted to test if the conquest of Alexander the Great and other foreign powers has left a genetic imprint on the ancient Egyptian population,” said Professor Alexander Peltzer, from the University of Tuebingen.


Source: The First Genome Data from Ancient Egyptian Mummies

Ivan
Ivan is editor-in-chief at ancient-code.com, he also writes for Universe Explorers. You may have seen him appear on the Discovery and History Channel.
12 Comments
  • Beetelgeuse

    Why so much surprise? Europe is just at the other side of the puddle. Besides if i remember correctly the Roman Empire, specifically Julio Caesar was doing “Stuff” with Cleopatra, right? that kind of stuff obviously leads marks in the DNA.

    • Mekusapv

      No. The gist of the discovery is that Caucasian type people had once dominated North Africa during the paleolithic times on through to the Old Kingdom times. So much for the “ancient Egyptians were black” claim.

      • Beetelgeuse

        I see now, thanks for the clarification.

    • Fuzzybunny

      That is right at the very end of ancient Egypt

  • Unchained

    Since our whole “history” is fake and made up, you can not believe anything main stream tells you.

    • Fuzzybunny

      Who made it up, please explain, I need the laugh.

      • Savatage64 (Always Deplorable)

        According to the ex president Oblahblah, history only started about 45 years ago. Anything before that is subject to ridicule and rewriting. Maybe that’s what our esteemed commenter, Unchained, was referring to.
        You’ve got to recognize “those” people, FuzzyB…Unchained is a pizza box Earther, hollow or otherwise. They stick out like a sore thumb.
        You know, the Earth is only 6000 years old….Hillary Clinton is a hot cougar…ISIS works for Israel….Elvis is alive and living in Montana….that kind of stuff.
        Oh, and about that “esteemed” thing….NOW you can laugh.

        • Fuzzybunny

          I am laughing! At that entire post! Classic! ?

  • Savatage64 (Always Deplorable)

    So basically, since their Genomes resembled those in Jordan, Syria, Turkey et al….Egyptians were still Arab environmentally, but not geographically. Makes sense…sort of.

  • Horus

    b-b- We wuze kangs???

  • Kenneth McRae

    Ancient Egyptians were from Europe??? LOL Hardly!!

  • lorfalconswan

    So they studied mummies from 1400 years ago and that makes the claim for the entire race of “Ancient Egyptians?” Hardly.

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