First study of mummy DNA leads to all sorts of discoveries


King Tut—plus 10 other royal mummies—recently became the first ancient Egyptians to get their DNA analyzed. The results, published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, turned up a treasure trove of new information about the famous boy king, his family and Egyptian royalty in general. Among the discoveries:

National Geographic News: King Tut was disabled, malarial and inbred

Image courtesy Flickr user jparise, via CC


  1. With noble traditions like using as many resources as possible to keep the dead company and inbreeding the hell out of the leadership, it’s not wonder this great civilization lasted for so many millennia.

  2. Mental note. When I am an evil overlord and setting myself up to be God King of my evil empire, I will institute holy reverence for hybrid vigor, not “purity of blood”.

  3. Cool, my wife and I just saw the Tut exhibition in San Francisco last week and heard the results from these tests were coming this week. Time to update all the placards on the artifacts!

  4. Very interesting. It’s amazing what they can learn bodies that have been dead a thousand years. Thank you boing boing for another interesting post.

    A x

  5. well there goes the alternative history theorists stance that Akhenaten was really Moses (moses being an egyptian name…why would a daughter of a pharaoh give her kid a jew name? Pharaoh ThutMOSIS). Anyway, i love it when science clarifies disputes.

    1. Moses is an english name, it actually sounds like the Latinization (think Naugtious Maximus) of the Hebrew name Moshe, which is his Egyptian name by Jewish tradition. Not much of a confirmation since it is another semetic language but Arabic calls Moses Mousa Nabi, Moses the prophet.

  6. “hormone disorder called gynecomastia ” Gynecomastia is an effect of a hormone disorder, it can be caused by many things. It is of itself not the hormone disorder.

  7. I’d always heard that Ankhenaten’s tomb and remains had been destroyed after Tut’s death when the priesthood of Amon-ra and the dynasty they supported reascended. Does anyone know the provenance of mummy KV55? Was it perhaps moved to some common tomb rather than being destroyed?

  8. I thought the reason Tut looked feminine was that he died suddenly, the Egyptians were unprepared so they used what they had on hand: burial stuff for a woman.

  9. Tut is the spawn of brother/sister incest and his dad tried to convert Egyptians to one god? Hmm… Sounds like the makings of an HBO series — Rome meets BSG.

  10. Technically, KV55 is a tomb in the Valley of the Kings. The mummy found in that tomb wouldn’t typically be called KV55. Sorry for nitpicking…I’m an egyptophile from hell.

  11. Tut? Tut!
    What would G-Wash, or A-Linc say? Spell the guy’s name out in full – I think, historically, he’s earned it.

  12. Any more evidence, aside from the inbreeding and the giant triangular headstones, that the royal family were maybe a little batty?

  13. Yes, but to what Haplogroup Y and MTDNA does he and his family belong? That would be the real interesting part, and the most obvious question they should be answering. Wonder why they’re not.

  14. More importantly, were the ancient Egyptian mummies in any way related to the modern Egyptian population? I’ve always doubted that.

  15. gynecomastia is not a genetic disease, it is a descriptive term that says, female-like breasts on a guy. lots of reasons to have it, including things like marihuana use or alcohol abuse, liver disease or just being fat (probably doesn’t apply here).

  16. EP1790222 This is No of my patent on mummification published by European Patent Office on 2007 and used by HAWAS to unlock DNA without my permit , I have 2 Human mummies and more than 100 animal mummies – Yahya BEDIR

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