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Nefertiti and Akhenaten related???
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Sothis
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SidneyF wrote:


I'm only concerned with "A" right now and it's highly likely that both of her parents were children of Amenhotep III.




At best, Nefertiti can have been the daughter of a brother or a sister of Amenhotep III. But, using a much-vaunted phrase on the site, "there is no evidence for the daughter of such a brother or sister being married to Akhenaten". KV21A certainly shares alleles with Amenhotep III, including 6 at the second marker if you have her as the mother of both the foetuses.


We don`t have any evidence of a daughter of AIII and Tiye (or by another wife for that matter) named Nefertiti either.
And isn`t that strange? Their others daughters are quite frequently mentioned, but just by chance any evidence of their daughter Nefertiti has been lost? I don`t buy that. A daughter who was prominent enough to become the next GRW would have been depicted or otherwise mentioned more than once, and at least some of this evidence should have survived.
So we have at least two problems regarding Nefertiti: one is her missing king`s daughter title what is often tried to be explained by various theories none of which is IMO convincing, and you have the missing evidence of her being named as AIII`s daughter.

Less puzzling would be that there is no evidence that she is AIII`s niece or cousin in case she was as usually only the first degree relationships to the king were promoted and commemorated.

As I have pointed out Nefertiti could just as well have been related to Mutemwija of who`s origins we know nothing with certainty. How many alleles KV21A may have had in common with AIII, we currently do not know which side of the family they came from and therefore we should refrain from working out family relationships that are based solely on these one or two alleles.

A last quick word on the link you have provided.
I have read the blog entry some time ago which is highly speculative and IMO not unbiased. I know that the author of this blog believes Akhenaten to be Tut`s father and the Younger Lady to be Nefertiti because long before the DNA tests she wrote an article on this subject defending Fletcher`s assumption.
When I read the article on the DNA I got the strong feeling that the author is trying to push the evidence and her speculations in the direction of her long-held views. Therefore and because there is no compelling evidence and in fact no evidence at all for her theories I am not convinced so far.
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SidneyF
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sothis wrote:
SidneyF wrote:
I'm only concerned with "A" right now and it's highly likely that both of her parents were children of Amenhotep III.

At best, Nefertiti can have been the daughter of a brother or a sister of Amenhotep III. But, using a much-vaunted phrase on the site, "there is no evidence for the daughter of such a brother or sister being married to Akhenaten". KV21A certainly shares alleles with Amenhotep III, including 6 at the second marker if you have her as the mother of both the foetuses.


We don`t have any evidence of a daughter of AIII and Tiye (or by another wife for that matter) named Nefertiti either. And isn`t that strange? Their others daughters are quite frequently mentioned, but just by chance any evidence of their daughter Nefertiti has been lost? I don`t buy that. A daughter who was prominent enough to become the next GRW would have been depicted or otherwise mentioned more than once, and at least some of this evidence should have survived.[/quote]

A mention has already been made in this long thread about the tomb of Kheruef. That's a lot of royal daughters, none of whom are named. Those who have been named, I believe, were the daughters of Amenhotep II and Queen Tiye. Would you really want to take the stance that the pharaoh never had any other daughters with others of which we haven't heard? I wouldn't. And I don't know why you believe Nefertiti would have had to have been "prominent" in order to become the GRW of the successor. Prominent in what way? Perhaps she was chosen because she was close in age to Akhenaten or for her beauty. If you believe that Akhenaten was quite young when he became king, co-regent, whatever the preference, some of his other sisters may have been considerably older than he.

[/quote]So we have at least two problems regarding Nefertiti: one is her missing king`s daughter title what is often tried to be explained by various theories none of which is IMO convincing, and you have the missing evidence of her being named as AIII`s daughter.
Less puzzling would be that there is no evidence that she is AIII`s niece or cousin in case she was as usually only the first degree relationships to the king were promoted and commemorated.[/quote]

I don't have any problem with Nefertiti being related to Akhenaten in that way (and isn't that the subject of this thread?) but so far it appears they were related. However, you mentioned something yesterday about the KV55 individual being the father of KV21A. If she is Ankhesenamun, that doesn't work. You must chose between the one being Akhenaten and the other being Ankhesenamun.

[/quote]As I have pointed out Nefertiti could just as well have been related to Mutemwija of who`s origins we know nothing with certainty. How many alleles KV21A may have had in common with AIII, we currently do not know which side of the family they came from and therefore we should refrain from working out family relationships that are based solely on these one or two alleles.[/quote]

Since you brought it up, how do you propose that Nefertiti was "just as well related to" Mutemwiya than to Amenhotep III? Why do you want to drop him from the equation?

[/quote]A last quick word on the link you have provided.
I have read the blog entry some time ago which is highly speculative and IMO not unbiased. I know that the author of this blog believes Akhenaten to be Tut`s father and the Younger Lady to be Nefertiti because long before the DNA tests she wrote an article on this subject defending Fletcher`s assumption. When I read the article on the DNA I got the strong feeling that the author is trying to push the evidence and her speculations in the direction of her long-held views. Therefore and because there is no compelling evidence and in fact no evidence at all for her theories I am not convinced so far.[/quote]

I didn't get that feeling. Luban wrote of "possibilities" and that's what she explained, as far as I can see. I don't see her promoting the Younger Lady as Nefertiti or the KV55 person as Tut's father. What she does correctly point out is that eight markers are not enough to rule out males in the same family from the paternity of a child. If a brother of KV55 had different alleles at one marker,, KV21A can be Ankhesenamun and her father Akhenaten. But the Younger Lady still can't be her mother. Before anyone had any hopes of the royal mummies being tested for their DNA people made speculations about some identities--and not just Luban. But now she has to deal with what the DNA says like everyone else. Setting forth possibilities is not "speculation". DNA is what it is. There's a limit to its potential interpretation.
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Sothis
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have proposed that if KV21A is Ankhesenamun her mother Nefertiti could have given her a 10 or the rare 16 at the first marker which she (nefertiti) herself might have inherited not directly from AIII but from another currently unknown source on either his father`s or his mother`s side.
I am not saying Nefertiti was definitely related to Mutemwija but she could have been.

And I am aware of the problem that KV55 cannot be Akhenaten if KV21A is Ankhesenamun and both babies are hers. I do not think he is anyway.

My argument regarding Nefertiti`s prominence was rather aimed at her being both AIII`s and Tiye`s daughter. My thought was and is that in this case one would expect to find some reference by name as was found of the other daughters.
Of course she could have been one of AIII`s daughters by another wife without the need of any further statement.

Apart from that I think I cannot contribute much more to this point without repeating myself.
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Sothis
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe there actually is something left that I can and want to contribute to the discussion about alleles and all.
I should probably start by saying that I don`t know why I did it again, entering into a discussion and arguing about the possible origins of alleles.
Having read an article called "Is Pharao DNA for real?" by the scientific journalist Jo Marchant on the subject I had promised myself to stand back and not to wrestle with the published figures of mummy DNA anymore at least until further information arises from somewhere.
Why?
Because in the article which can be found here
http://www.decodingtheheavens.com/blog/post/2011/01/20/Is-pharaoh-DNA-for-real.aspx

there is a lot of detailed criticism regarding the DNA-tests and everything surrounding them.
Much of it will be known to most of the members of this forum, but more interesting to me than what other scientists say is what the two mainly concerned scientists Zink and Pusch themselves say.
When interviewed by Jo Marchant they gave a rough explanation how they actually obtained the figures we are now so vividly talking about.
The passage reads:

"Pusch and Zink admit that their data, as to be expected for such difficult samples, was not always 100% clear. So they tested every microsatellite several times in samples from different locations on each mummy, and used a "majority rule" to decide on the result. "If we do the experiment 30 times on one mummy, we might get 18 the same," says Pusch. Then they used a computer programme to work out the most probable family tree for the resulting genotypes.

Zink says that he would be happy to discuss the results with other researchers but that he would be reluctant to share raw data, because the need to use the majority rule means "there could be a lot of arguing".

What about mtDNA? In fact, the researchers say that they have isolated mtDNA, but chose not to include it in the JAMA paper as they are still working on it. "We face problems getting clear results," says Zink. MtDNA sequences would give researchers their first insight into the genetic origins of the pharaohs - a potentially explosive issue - so "we want to be 100% sure", says Zink. He and Pusch are planning a paper on this, along with an analysis of the male mummies' Y chromosomes - later this year. The JAMA paper was "just the opening ceremony", says Pusch."

This means that when testing the same marker many times not always the same results were obtained. According to the "majority rule" a certain figure was approved and published as valid result just as long as it appeared at least in 50% of the test runs.
But who can guarantee that the other figure or figures which may also have reached close to 50% were not the correct ones?
IMO doubts as to the accuracy of the numbers are justified.
We have for example the numbers 34 and and 35 in the forth markers of many of the tested mummies. Can we be sure that they really are two different numbers and not one and the same?

The other thing that made me think is when in the latter part of the passage Zink admits that they have problems with getting clear results on the mtDNA and they want to be 100% sure because of the explosive nature of the issue of genetic origins.
That sounds as if they had not bothered to get 100% certainty before publishing the results of the nuclear DNA because this was "only" about family relationships.
And, if there are so big problems when dealing with the mtDNA which is usually easier to extract and handle, how did they overcome the problems with the rather difficult nuclear DNA apparently so easily?

I leave it to everyone what to make of it, but I would really like to hear other opinions.

BTW Jo Marchant also spoke on the same subject in a conference on Amarna related subjects which was held at UCL London about two weeks ago.
I wasn`t there but the conference is covered on egyptological free online magazine for everyone who wants to have a good read.
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SidneyF
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it is no secret that to obtain DNA from ancient remains is not the simple matter that it is with contemporary. People have been waiting a long time for this testing and it began to seem it would never happen. Yet we cannot expect results beyond what the current technology can produce and this may be as good as it gets. I think Jo Marchant was going beyond her expertise when she mentioned the "brittle" bones of Tutankhamun--and did she know that Scott Woodward has already sequenced the DNA of the larger foetus a decade ago? I recall watching the documentary, the one where Zink and Pusch were involved, and the Egyptian microbiologist was drilling into the bone of Tutankhamun, saying to Hawass that the bone was very hard because the pharaoh was very young. The law of averages is not so bad. If I miss shooting a basket 18 out of 20 times, I think it's safe to conclude I am no good at basketball. However, I can't quite understand why the results were so sketchy with KV21A. There are just enough alleles there to show she is related to the others, but not enough to make it clearer how.
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Sothis
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SidneyF wrote:
I think it is no secret that to obtain DNA from ancient remains is not the simple matter that it is with contemporary. People have been waiting a long time for this testing and it began to seem it would never happen. Yet we cannot expect results beyond what the current technology can produce and this may be as good as it gets. I think Jo Marchant was going beyond her expertise when she mentioned the "brittle" bones of Tutankhamun--and did she know that Scott Woodward has already sequenced the DNA of the larger foetus a decade ago? I recall watching the documentary, the one where Zink and Pusch were involved, and the Egyptian microbiologist was drilling into the bone of Tutankhamun, saying to Hawass that the bone was very hard because the pharaoh was very young. The law of averages is not so bad. If I miss shooting a basket 18 out of 20 times, I think it's safe to conclude I am no good at basketball. However, I can't quite understand why the results were so sketchy with KV21A. There are just enough alleles there to show she is related to the others, but not enough to make it clearer how.


But what if you miss the basket 18 out of 30 times or even only 16 out of 30 times? Then you might not be that hopeless after all.
And that would be enough for a certain number to be validated.
According to the JAMA paper the thirty-fold testing of a locus was the upper limit. Apparently not all the loci were tested that often. And the smaller the number of test runs the less reliable the results based on a ratio are.
Furthermore the verification of the test results in the second "independent" lab (independent in so far that it was a different location, but with the same figureheads and maybe much of the same staff) was only partially successful. In the published paper it reads: "....however, we were able to replicate some of the results for the previous mummies more than 4 times in the second, independent laboratory."
It is not said exactly how many of the results were replicated.

There is a very revealing investigation in one of the links of Jo Marchant`s article (Linda Geddes` excellent investigation). Here is the direct link

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727733.500-fallible-dna-evidence-can-mean-prison-or-freedom.html

It is really worthwile to read this as it shows how much the interpretation of DNA raw data is open to bias and interpretation even when working with modern samples.
How much more could this play a role with ancient samples, and so famous ones too.

The tests conducted by Woodward were done with mtDNA only and unfortunately the results were never published. So we do not know how successful he really was.

IMO the whole testing should be done once more in at least two really independent labs and the samples should be completely anonymous. Maybe they could be handed over to the labs in a bulk of samples from the Amarna cemetry or something like that, then we might at least be sure that the results are not precluded.
I know this is of course wishful thinking with the current troubles within the SCA, lack of funds and maybe Hawass still lurking around somewhere to get his job back.

However, I for my part don`t have much confidence in the presented figures any more as long as the raw data of these tests is not published to be peer reviewed. This reluctance to share the raw data indicates that something might not be quite right.
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