I promised to come back with a round of answers on the main questions from the
DNA Shows that KV55 Mummy Probably Not Akhenaten post. As before, click here or on the title to read the full article.
Dave H asked about Marfans. The paper indicates that Marfans was not diagnosed and so far I've seen no reason to question that. I am surprised, however, that no attempt was made to test for the gene known to be responsible for Marfans as that would have offered a definitive answer to the issue.
In answer to your specific question, the gene responsible for Marfans is dominant to Marfan Syndrome cannot skip a generation.
Reading commentaries elsewhere there seems to be some confusion about what I am suggesting. I've also been working on making much clearer what assumptions I am making (over and above the accuracy of the findings reported by Hawass and colleagues). This may help clarify what other relationships are possible. Rather than talk of alleles which I know people find confusing, I'll use "gene". It's slightly imprecise but good enough for our purpose. We have 3 known mummies: Yuya, Thuya and Tutankhamun. All analysis spreads out from these fixed points.
Thuya is wonderfully genetically distinctive. Her rare traits are inherited by the foetuses and KV21A so there must be second line of descent. If these foetueses are Tutankhamun's then the rare genes must have been inherited from their mother's parents, whom history records as Akhenaten and Nefertiti. Nefertiti as a granddaughter of Yuya and Thuya can explain the rare genes but it's not possible for KV55 to meet the genetic profile required of Akhenaten in this scheme.
Specifically, if the foetuses are Tut's childen by Ankhesenamun, then KV55 cannot be Akhenaten because of the interplay between genetics and recorded history.
Because, to some degree, we can construct the genetic profile that Akhenaten and Nefertiti must have had, even though we don't have their mummies, we can also deduce that Tutankhamun could be the son of Akhenaten. That's not saying he is, but the Hawass deduction of KV55 as Tutankhamun's father has been made in the absence of the Akhenaten mummy and, with that present, both options would be seen as possible. It's almost certain KV55 and Akhenaten were brothers so, given the genetic narrowing, their DNA was probably very similar so determining which was the father of Tut requires more DNA than was tested.
So who was the KV55 mummy? If one believes it the burial of an Amarnan king then by deduction, it must be Smenkhare. The only viable alternative is an unknown prince.
Turning to the women, just as KV55 cannot be Akhenaten, none of the female mummies can be Nefertiti. It's impossible (based on our same assumption on the parents of the foetuses). Since DNA strongly suggest KV35EL was the daughter of Yuya and Thuya and she was obvioulsy a matriarch, the identification of KV35EL as Tiye is solid.
After than, in all honesty it rapidly descends into conjecture. It seems likely that the KV35 mummy is Amenhotep III. KV35 cannot be Akhenaten. However if you've not read this paper Professor Edward F Wente, I would suggest you do. There is considerable difficulty in the attribution of the cached royal mummies, and that includes Amenhotep III. The DNA study strongly suggests the KV35 mummy is Amenhotep III but until we know more about the DNA of his peers, it would be premature to say the attribution is proven.
Succession and the Hittite Letter
DNA doesn't help with determining the succession so we cannot say who succeeded Akhenaten, nor whether kings reigned alone or as co-regents. As I've indicated before, building a chronology using the age at death of the various mummies may help.
Little seems to have been written of the issue of how the diagnosis of malaria changes the likelihood that Ankhesenamun. If malaria was common, she surely would have recognised the symptoms. Had it been the cause of his death, there is no way she could have believed he had been murdered. We seem further from setting this letter in context than ever.
Carolin's comment is perhaps a reference to As If Tutankhamen is Alive written by Hawass for asharq alawsat. He says, " I told Dr. Abdel Halim Nureddin that now after the world has given all this attention to what we are doing, I expected those enemies of success and people who are obsessed with fame to come forward to try and stick their noses in the results of our research." As Carolin says, the academic process is that other people will try to build upon the published work and critique it. I don't know what the academic community feels, but I personally resent the accusation that I am "obsessed with fame" because I have critiqued the DNA data. I doubt I am alone in my reaction to that statement.
Hawass also says:
Dr. Abdel Halim Nureddin told me that someone keeps saying that he was the first to carry out DNA tests on mummies. All I could do was laugh because the project that I’m honoured to be presiding over is the first ever to use DNA testing on these mummies so we have exclusively set up the first two DNA laboratories to study mummies in Egypt.If anybody wishes to understand the history, then this article by Charles Pope is a good springboard to the truth of the matter. It might also help you to understand why the topic is so political.