DNA Shows that KV55 Mummy Probably Not Akhenaten

I wrote a paper on the genetics of Tutankhamun’s family in response to the academic paper by Dr Hawass at al widely quoted in the media.  Because my paper was published on a blog, I toned down the science somewhat, although my readers still struggled with the genetics.  A genetics professor wrote in support of my analysis so I sent my paper to Dr Pusch (the corresponding author of the original scientific study) and to Dr Hawass, Head of the Supreme Council for Antiquities in Egypt.  The full paper is published on News from the Valley of the Kings.

The paper Ancestry and Pathology in King Tutankhamun’s Family
by Hawass al. (Journal of American Medicine, 2010 – JAMA. 2010;303(7):638-647), states that the mummy in KV55 is “probably” Akhenaten – hereafter “the JAMA paper”. The media has accepted the attribution as affirmed fact, although the attribution has attracted considerable comment and debate with a number of writers questioning the forensic data. I believe, however, that the correct focus of dissent to the attribution should be the STR analysis which shows that the KV55 mummy is highly unlikely to be Akhenaten and that an alternative family tree is a better fit to the genetic findings of the Hawass study.


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