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Half of Swiss men share 'pharaoh gene'

Published: 29 Jul 2011 10:53 GMT+02:00
Updated: 29 Jul 2011 10:28 GMT+02:00

Every second Swiss male is related to the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun, according to researchers in Zurich.

Scientists working on mapping the genetic profile of Tutankhamun, who ruled Egypt around 3,000 years ago, were able to reconstruct his Y-DNA profile.

They found that he belonged to the haplogroup R1b1a2 that is today strongly represented in Switzerland and other parts of Western Europe.

“Around 50 percent of Swiss men also belong to this group and, therefore, have a common ancestor with the pharaoh,” Roman Scholz, director of the Igenea centre, told the 20 Minuten news channel.

This common ancestor lived around 9,500 years ago in the Black Sea region, he explained.

It is impossible to tell from outward appearance if one shares this gene with Tutankhamun. However, the curious can get a special DNA test to see if they indeed are related to the pharaoh.

Scholz pointed out that while it may be impressive to share a gene with the ancient Egyptian ruler, it offers no particular genetic advantage.

 

Siobhán Dowling (news@thelocal.ch)

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