Faces of Three Egyptian Mummies Reconstructed from 2,000-Year-Old DNA | Technology

Scientists from the Parabon Nanolabs company have given life to the faces of three ancient egyptian men who lived in the community of Abusir el Meleq, on the west bank of the Nile, using DNA that is more than 2,000 years old.

Samples of the mummies, whose age is estimated between 2,023 and 2,797 years, were processed by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of the History of Humanity and the University of Tübingen in Germany, according to the company specialized in DNA phenotyping.

The trio were named JK2134, which dates from 776-569 BC, JK2888, which is estimated to have lived around 97-2 BC, and JK2911, which is believed to have lived around 769-560 BC.

Ancient Egyptians closest to the inhabitants of the Middle East

To predict the appearance of men around the age of 25, the company used state-of-the-art technology and a forensic artist. The complexion of the subjects is believed to be light brown color, with dark hair and eyes and no freckles.

“These results are very consistent with the conclusions of Schuenemann et al that ‘ancient Egyptians shared more ancestry with the inhabitants of the Near East than present-day Egyptians, who received additional sub-Saharan mixing in more recent times.’ and that they had an allele for lighter skin “, according to a statement from Parabon Nanolabs.

For the reconstruction, raw data was obtained from the three ancient Egyptian mummies, available in the European Nucleotide Archive (ENA), before sequencing and “aligning them with the reference human genome”. An enzymatic repair of the damage was then performed on each sample.

Instantaneous DNA phenotype

According to the company, the work was made possible thanks to biometric advances in the field of low coverage imputation, after which its “Snapshot DNA phenotyping line (instant DNA phenotype)” was applied to the three ancient mummy samples. .

Designed to address missing data in the most complex forensic samples, the instant DNA phenotype “Predicted the ancestry, pigmentation and facial morphology of each mummy.” The three-dimensional “facial morphology” revealed the frontal and lateral profiles of the men, as well as a facial heat map.


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