Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Comments suggest that a few people have found it hard to follow my reasoning on the genetics in my previous article DNA Shows that KV55 Mummy Probably Not Akhenaten. I'm sorry. I was at full-stretch myself with the genetics and I let my explanation slide a little. I want everybody to understand the reasoning so here's a 30 second version for you.

  1. Thuya had two "genes" which were rare.  Only 1 in 100 people have each of them.  Only 1 in 10,000 people have both of them.  Tiye didn't inherit these genes but they re-appear in the foetuses.  How?  Do we go for the 1 in 10,000 option of blind chance, or do we think that the foetuses inherited the rare genes from Thuya by a line of descent other than Thuya -> Tiye -> KV55 -> Tutankhamun? 
  2. There are two even rarer genes (only 1 in 1,000 people have each of them) which make a similar jump: one jumps from Amenhotep III to the foetuses; the other jumps from either Yuya or Amenhotep III to the foetuses.  Neither gene passes Amenhotep III -> KV55 -> Tutankhamun.  It would be a 1 in a million chance that the foetuses didn't inherit these genes from Amenhotep III (or Yuya).  Again how?

How might this be explained?  History suggests that the first case is explained by Nefertiti (her father is thought by many to have been Ay, son of Yuya and Thuya) and the second by Akhenaten ... if the mummy in KV55 is not Akhenaten of course.  And playing Sudoko with the genetic data suggests it's impossible for KV55 to be the father of  both Tutankhamun and Ankhesenamun - the genetics of their children (the foetuses) is impossible to reconcile.  (Of course, the foetuses might not be Ankhesenamun's - another queen anybody?)

Finally, I play Sudoko with the full family tree to show that it is possible to have KV55 as another prince (Smenkhare?) and add Akhenaten and Nefertiti in as parents of the mother of the foetuses.  This also allows me to predict what future genetic tests (such as mitochondrial DNA) should show - a good, scientific theory should make testable predictions.  I also show that all of KV21A, KV21B and Y35YL could be (not were, just could be), daughters of Akhenaten and Nefertiti.

That's a bit of a simplification and omits the caveats and assumptions, but it's my argument in a nutshell. 


Anonymous said...

Having watched the Discovery programme last night a couple of things impressed me. Despite Hawass wanting the DNA testing to be an all Egyptian affair, the top German experts soon took over and ran the show from the DNA lab in the Cairo museum basement. The testing was also replicated at another lab in Egypt but why werent samples also sent off to a lab in Europe or the USA to give the study respectability.
Secondly Hawasses attempt to find the remains of Mudjommet, Nefertitis sister, (lost supposedly for 30 years) seemed very half hearted which if DNA analysis supported the fact that the younger lady is not only TUTs mother but also Nefertiti is the last thing, the very last thing, that Hawass wants. Otherwise he would have egg on his face having gone all out in the past to deny that this is Nefertiti.

Anonymous said...

The remains Hawass was searching for are supposed to belong to Queen Mutnedjemet, the wife of King Horemheb. Sceletal fragments of a female were found in his tomb at Saqqara.
But it is by no means proven that this Mutnedjemet was the same person as Nefertiti`s sister who`s name is recently read as Mutbenret. There were quite a few ladies with the name Mutnedjemet around in that time.

Maybe it is due to this uncertainty that Hawass didn`t search harder.

rymerster said...

However, it seems logical that Horemheb would have married a Royal bride (in this case either the previous King's daughter or the aunt of the ruler before that). Very likely Mutnodjmet was the last surviving Amarna royal unless some of the younger princesses were still around. Anyway, there must be a reason why Horemheb is regarded as the last Pharoah of the 18th Dynasty rather than the founder of the 19th (which he was, in fact).

rymerster said...

Apparently the King Tut Unwrapped documentary has already been broadcast in the UK and I managed to miss it!

Mad as hell!

Anonymous said...

During the late 1960s, the late professor Harrison examined the remains in KV55 and Tut establishing the same rare blood group for both.

All the modern examinations of the remains from KV55 seem adamant that they are of a young man aged no more than about 26 on death.

Prof Harrison concluded that Akhenaton was the son of Amenhotep and Tiye while Smenkhare (KV55)and Tut were the sons of Amenhotep and another secondary wife (Kiye). Chronoligically this still seems to be the most likely order.


Admin Control Panel