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Does mummification destroy DNA?
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Joined: 10 Jul 2008
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Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

chillie wrote:
"Hawass said then the DNA tests also would determine Tutankhamun's lineage, and whether the foetuses were the offspring of Tutankhamun and Ankhesenpamon, the daughter of Nefertiti who is renowned as one of history's great beauties."

-from Yahoo News

How can this test show Tutankhamun's lineage? If they only test the children and Tut, can that show who his parents were?

Hawass is hoping that the testing of the mummy that is now identified as Amenhotep III will match that of Tutankhamun, which will show up in both's yDNA, which is passed on from related males. However, as for testing for Tutankhamun's 'lineage', I'm not as clear.

If Tutankhamun's mother is Kiya, we do not have her remains, unless the KV 35 "Younger Women" mummy matches' Tutankhamun's mtDNA. If Tutankhamun's mother was Nefertiti, the only match would be within Ankhsenamun's remains and those of the female foetuses found in Tutankhamun's tomb (we don't have Ankhsenamun's remains) - assuming for the moment, of course, that the female foetuses are those of Ankhsenamun's birthing. That's not necessarily a given, BTW.

Of course, if no remains match beyond the foetal remains being attached to Tutankhamun, I'm not clear how much new information that would give us: it's been presumed for years that these are the young king's offspring.

Of course, the yDNA match with the remains presently ID'ed as Amehotep III could also possibly confuse the issue: since the DNA of Tutankhamun's father and grandfather would (arguably) be related, we may still be looking at Tutankhamun's grandfather if there is a match, not the father.

Even worse, since there is very good reason to think the remains are mis-identified and are actually the remains of Akhenaten, would we then be looking at Tutankhamun's father, rather than those of Amenhotep III.

If those remains don't match those of Thutmose IV, however, then we are up a creek without a paddle, since that means that we have the father of Tutankhamun, but not necessarily one of the direct Thutmosid line.

As you can see, DNA studies don't always solve everything.

We need more remains to be sure, and even so, whatever Hawass announces, he's made it clear that we will not allow independent testing of the materials outside of Egypt and under his control. If he maintains that position, most scholars and genetics experts will, IMO, probably not believe the results if it can't be tested independently of the Egyptian DNA labs.

This need for independent testing has nothing to do with Hawass, BTW: it's merely standard procedure for genetic testing that you send the DNA materials to independent labs, usually around the world, to verify your results. For example, there were several independent tests done in addition to the official genetic testing of the Romanov family remains in the late 1990s and 2000's to confirm the original testing (Another article), which confirmed that all family members were found and accounted for.

Katherine Griffis-Greenberg

Doctoral Candidate
Oriental Institute
Oriental Studies
Doctoral Programme [Egyptology]
Oxford University
Oxford, United Kingdom
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Joined: 23 Apr 2008
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Location: victoria, australia

PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 4:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

if tutankhamun's remains fit the mitochondrial dna of anksenamun, that doesnt necessarily mean that he decends from nefertiti, rather, one of her female relatives as well, the link could be a hundred or so years previously.
heaven won't take me.......hell's afraid i'll take over.....
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:24 pm    Post subject: Mummification and DNA Reply with quote

Although this has liitle to do with the topic directly, I seem the recall that, during the late 1970s, the mummy of Rameses 2 was taken to France for conservation work. Among the mummy's problem was a fungal(?) infestation, which was treated by a massive doese of X - rays. i wonder whether this treament would make it much more difficult to extract DNA from his tissues?
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:52 pm    Post subject: DNA replication Reply with quote

A thought occurred to me about the question as to how the DNA amount extracted from the cell of a mummy could be increased. [quote] I wonder exactly how amplification works? I wonder how reliable it is? Thinking about it, you can begin to see why some hesitate to put much stock at the present time into studying ancient, fragmented DNA.
I would guess or maybe I am remembering from my biology class a distant memory of the answer being that they would add RNA to transcribe the DNA, and be coded as the DNA pair. So there would be the DNA and the RNA transcription of the DNA of the deceased individual. I think that would work. Any thoughts?
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