King Tut may have been more European than Egyptian
Published Tuesday, August 2, 2011 7:13PM EDT
Every other European male is related to King Tutankhamun, the celebrated boy pharaoh who ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago, according to researchers in Zurich.
Scientists at Zurich-based DNA genealogy center, iGENEA, say they have reconstructed the DNA profile of the pharaoh, his father Akhenaten and grandfather Amenhotep III.
The researchers didn't evaluate the DNA themselves; they say they made their findings "with the help" of a film made for the Discovery Channel.
The researchers say they believe King Tut belonged to a genetic profile group known as haplogroup R1b1a2. More than 50 per cent of all men in Western Europe belong to this genetic group as do up to 70 per cent of British men.
But among modern-day Egyptians, less than 1 per cent of residents belong to this haplogroup, according to iGENEA.
Researchers say it's likely that King Tut and Europeans share a common ancestor who lived in the Caucasus region about 9,500 years ago.
The geneticists were not sure how Tutankhamun's paternal lineage came to Egypt from its region of origin. They say that Tut's full paternal ancestry is unknown.
Along with the discovery, iGENEA made another announcement this week: it is now selling a DNA testing service for those who would like to know if they are related to King Tut. For between 139 and 399 euros, the company will conduct testing to find which modern-day European is the closest living relative of King Tut.
"The offer has only been publicized for three days but we have already seen a lot of interest," Roman Scholz, director of the iGENEA Centre, told Reuters.