Modern Egyptians have more DNA from sub-Saharan Africa than mummies entombed in their country, according to the first genome data on mummies.
The findings are helping researchers gauge the impact of history on Egyptians’ genetics.
The international team of researchers analyzed DNA from 151 mummies from the archaeological site of Abusir el-Meleq. The site is along the Nile River in Middle Egypt. The mummies date from about 1400 B.C. to 400 A.D.
Genetic studies of ancient Egyptian mummies are rare due to a number of issues.
“The hot Egyptian climate, the high humidity levels in many tombs and some of the chemicals used in mummification techniques contribute to DNA degradation and are thought to make the long-term survival of DNA in Egyptian mummies unlikely,” said study senior author Johannes Krause. He is director at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human…