King Tut and half of European men share DNA

by Deborah Braconnier report
Tuthankamen
Tuthankamen's famous burial mask, on display in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Source: wikipedia

According to a group of geneticists in Switzerland from iGENEA, the DNA genealogy center, as many as half of all European men and 70 percent of British men share the same DNA as the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun, or King Tut.

For a film created for the Discovery Channel, scientists worked to reconstruct the DNA of the young male King, his father Akhenaten and his grandfather Amenhotep III. They discovered that King Tut had a that belongs to a group called haplogroup R1b1a2. This group can be found in over 50 percent of European men and shows the researchers that there is a .

This group is also found in 70 percent of Spanish males and 60 percent of French males however, it is only present in less than one percent of men in modern-day Egyptian men.

The R1b1a2 DNA haplogroup is believed to have originated in the region some 9500 years ago and spread to Europe with the spread of agriculture in 7000BC. Researchers are unsure as to how and when the group first came to Egypt. They believe the reasoning the R1b1a2 haplogroup is rarely found in modern-day Egypt is due partially to European immigration throughout the last 2000 years.

iGENEA plans to continue to search for more DNA lineage and are looking to discover King Tut’s closest living relatives. They announced this week that they are selling a DNA service for between 139 and 399 euros and they will test the DNA of those people who are interested in seeing how related to King Tut they may be. This offer, according to Roman Scholz who is the director of iGENEA, has already gained a lot of interest.

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macsglen
4.5 / 5 (2) Aug 03, 2011
Wow, o' Tut really got around . . .
Donutz
5 / 5 (1) Aug 03, 2011
He was born in Arizona,
Got a condo made of stone'a.
sigfpe
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 03, 2011
What a stupid headline. If you're human you share almost all of your DNA with King Tut.
Kedas
5 / 5 (2) Aug 03, 2011
We match even 99% with chimpanzees.
King Tut isn't a chimpanzee so I'm sure we will be a better match.

It is iGENEA who tries to convince people to pay to give their DNA and do some basic tests.
So it is a commercial thing to expand their database with your money.
gmurphy
5 / 5 (3) Aug 03, 2011
@sigfpe, they clearly meant relative to the general populace, by contrast, less than one percent of the Egyptian male population share the same genetic profile
krierpat
5 / 5 (1) Aug 03, 2011
if there is such a large percentage of europeans with this gene sequence then why would europeans immigrating to Egypt explain the lack of this gene sequence in Egypt?
Shakescene21
5 / 5 (3) Aug 03, 2011
The article doesn't say it, but this DNA match referred only to the Y-Chromosome, not the entire DNA profile of 46 chromosomes. Thus, he might have looked very much like a modern Middle-easterner, even if his Y-chromosome haplogroup is unusual in modern Egypt.
Nevertheless, this is such a remarkable finding that it needs to be confirmed by other laboratories. Furthermore, I wonder if the DNA sample for King Tut might have been contaminated from handling by European scientists.
Telekinetic
1 / 5 (1) Aug 03, 2011
If Tut was anything like his descendants, he was running around his palace trying to pinch the bottoms of young girls.
CarolinaScotsman
5 / 5 (3) Aug 03, 2011
The article lost all credibility with me when it turned into an advertisement for paid DNA services.
Glyndwr
not rated yet Aug 03, 2011
North African Berbers migrations across meditteranean into Iberia(modern day spain portugal) -> were ancesotrs of basque related people who were known to have spread to British isles later?
gwrede
not rated yet Aug 03, 2011
So, Tut's granddaddy was a diplomat from the Black Sea area. Or just another traveller who fell in love with a girl and stayed. I don't see why large immigrations would be the obvious choice.

The only thing that is obvious, is that this company rode into the "scientific" headlines using Tut and now sells DNA-tests by the truckload.
STAGGERBOT
1 / 5 (1) Aug 05, 2011
Confirmation bias meeting profit potential. A dangerous positive feedback loop.
Moebius
3 / 5 (2) Aug 06, 2011
We match even 99% with chimpanzees.....


This explains it. Tut had sex with half the women in Europe and all the chimpanzees.
Skepticus_Rex
not rated yet Aug 08, 2011
Hello? There are people (I am not one of them) who are going to read this who are not going to know what kind of DNA is referenced in the study and who might be curious as to what this might mean.

Which one is it? aDNA is a given but is a non-specific term, and nDNA is useless for this kind of population testing, so it must be either y-chDNA or mtDNA. It does not look like any mtDNA lineage of which I am aware so it must be a haplogroup involving y-chDNA, as mentioned above in the comments. All this 'proves' is that one of Tut's direct-line paternal ancestors was from this region or from someone who was descended from this region. This, of course, may lend some interesting evidence that may be related to the Hyksos era, the Hyksos originally being Middle Eastern mercenaries with a group of Central Asians along for the ride.

In any case, it is at best a distant relationship and not what some will misunderstand by the meaning of "related." Somewhat poorly written but entertaining.

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