Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Wednesday, June 09, 2010

I promised to post the DNA from the TV Documentary and compare it with the DNA in the JAMA paper.  This is the comparison of two mummies from tomb KV62 in the Valley of the Kings: King Tutankhamun himself and the larger of the two foetuses.

The locci aren't named in the documentary but they seem to be the same as those in the published paper so I have shown the locii as a caption to each table.  If anybody would like to check I have correctly transcribed the results from the documentary, then that would be appreciated.

Rather than one hugely confusing table, I have shown each locus separately.  

MummyJAMA 1JAMA 2 TV 1TV 2
Tutankhamun1012 9(10)12
Larger Foetus10- 9(10)-

MummyJAMA 1JAMA 2 TV 1TV 2
Tutankhamun1015 10(11)15+
Larger Foetus615 614

MummyJAMA 1JAMA 2 TV 1TV 2
Tutankhamun1626 1727+
Larger Foetus-26 18(19)26

MummyJAMA 1JAMA 2 TV 1TV 2
Tutankhamun2934 2933
Larger Foetus2935 2530

MummyJAMA 1JAMA 2 TV 1TV 2
Tutankhamun813 913
Larger Foetus813 813

MummyJAMA 1JAMA 2 TV 1TV 2
Tutankhamun1919 1820
Larger Foetus1020 1020

MummyJAMA 1JAMA 2 TV 1TV 2
Tutankhamun612 612
Larger Foetus-12 11(12)12(13)

MummyJAMA 1JAMA 2 TV 1TV 2
Tutankhamun2323 2323
Larger Foetus-23 2623

There are many reasons why the published paper may differ.  It's possible some experiments were repeated and of course the paper will have combined the results from the second lab; however, it remains my unwavering view that the discrepancies should have been raised openly in the published paper.

There are some people who don't believe that real results were shown in the documentary: I do.  I think the evidence is very strong that the results shown were contemporaneous results from the lab.  I am not sure, however, why they were so convinced that Tutankhamun had been proven to be the father of the larger foetus at that stage because paternity is much less certain than in the published paper.  Indeed there seems to be a major issue with D21S11 for which neither of Tutankhamun's alleles is inherited.

Do I still believe that Tutankhamun is the father of this foetus?  Probably; however, unexplained discrepancies hardly fill one with confidence and this comparison has certainly caused me to question whether the DNA results are as definitive as the JAMA paper seems to suggest.

On another note, re-watching the documentary it seems important that the foetus and the mummy they believe to be Ankhesenamun had Marfans but they don't seem to think the KV55 mummy did. That suggests to me again that KV55 was probably not Ankhesenamun's father, Akhenaten - with the usual assumptions that the mummy might not be Ankhesenamun and might not be the mother of the foetuses.


Stephanie said...

Thanks for posting your findings on this issue, Kate. Just like you I am intruiged by the non-matching loci which is not only D21S11, but also D2S1338 and D7S820, at least if ones sticks exactly to the numbers displayed in the TV show. By the way, what meaning has the "+" that comes after some of the numbers?
Unfortunately I do not think we can get an expert explanation on the differing data sets soon.

I reckon that the data in the JAMA paper might be the more reliable one because it probably considers the results obtained during the repeated testing in the second new lab which seems to benefit from equipment of the latest available technology.
Therefor I still believe that not just the bigger foetus but both of them are Tut`s kids because this is suggested by the way how they were treated and buried as well as by the "paper data" which shows all matching loci for both of them as far as data was obtained.
I wonder why they always just cling to the larger foetus.

Regarding Marfan`s I think there is some confusion. First they state that the hand is too long in proportion to the thigh which IMO does not point to Marfan`s. In Marfan`s the limbs are too long in proportion to the trunk of the body, so in fact the comparison should be made between limbs and trunk. This is exactly what they do when they check on the KV21 mummies for Marfan`s and neither of them is said to display signs of the disease as their thighs are not long at all. As neither Tut nor KV55 shows symptoms of Marfan`s the foetus is all alone with alleged Marfan`s which is not supported by the paper so I think we can forget Marfan`s altogether.

Kate Phizackerley said...

I agree with what you are saying. I'll re-watch the video iro Marfans because I think it may disagree with the JAMA paper in terms of KV21A.

Marianne Luban said...

When it comes right down to it, Akhenaten NOT being the father of Tutankhamun makes a good deal of historical sense. Even if Tut had been just a little boy when he became king [and he was] the precedent in Egypt would have been for him to have a female regent. Had Tut been that heir born to Akhenaten, finally, after six daughters, then there would have been no need for a male ruler named Smenkhkare at all. If there had been a Smenkhkare, under the circumstances, then he would have been an illegal king!

Now Smenkhkare, whoever he was, was married to Meritaten. If Smenkhkare, say, had been a son of Amenhotep III, Meritaten would not have been a full sister but only a niece. For Akhenaten, himself, to have had a son of his own close to the age of his eldest daughter seems quite impossible given his total absence from family scenes that make the king look like he was not capable of siring a male heir--something oriental men never liked to advertise. One might say "Where were the sons of Amenhotep III in the art?" but this last pharaoh did not go in for "family scenes" any more than his predecessors. The art of Amarna was quite unique. Genetically, it is also quite difficult to reconcile, then, the KV55 individual and the 35YL being Smenkhkare and Meritaten. What say you, Kate?

Kate Phizackerley said...

Notwishtanding my belief that the DNA shows that Akhenaten is not the father of Tutankhamun, like you I would find it hard to reconcile Akhenaten's paternity with historical fact. I know some rely on inscriptions, but I agree with you that there is now way Akhenaten would have permitted his male heir to be left out of so many important scenes. Admittedly, we have lost much but I think enough survives that the only way Tutankhamun or Smenkhare could have been sons of Akhenaten is if a) they had been estranged or b) they were byblows of non-royal birth.


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