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Nat Commun. 2017 May 30;8:15694. doi: 10.1038/ncomms15694.

Ancient Egyptian mummy genomes suggest an increase of Sub-Saharan African ancestry in post-Roman periods.

Author information

1
Institute for Archaeological Sciences, University of Tübingen, 72070 Tübingen, Germany.
2
Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment, University of Tübingen, 72070 Tübingen, Germany.
3
Integrative Transcriptomics, Center for Bioinformatics, University of Tübingen, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.
4
Department for Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, 07745 Jena, Germany.
5
Division of Archaeology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3DZ, UK.
6
Museum and Institute of Zoology, Polish Academy of Sciences, 00-679 Warsaw, Poland.
7
Berlin Society of Anthropology, Ethnology and Prehistory, 10997 Berlin, Germany.
8
DFG Centre for Advanced Studies 'Words, Bones, Genes, Tools: Tracking Linguistic, Cultural and Biological Trajectories of the Human Past', University of Tübingen, 72070 Tübingen, Germany.
9
School of Biological Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia.

Abstract

Egypt, located on the isthmus of Africa, is an ideal region to study historical population dynamics due to its geographic location and documented interactions with ancient civilizations in Africa, Asia and Europe. Particularly, in the first millennium BCE Egypt endured foreign domination leading to growing numbers of foreigners living within its borders possibly contributing genetically to the local population. Here we present 90 mitochondrial genomes as well as genome-wide data sets from three individuals obtained from Egyptian mummies. The samples recovered from Middle Egypt span around 1,300 years of ancient Egyptian history from the New Kingdom to the Roman Period. Our analyses reveal that ancient Egyptians shared more ancestry with Near Easterners than present-day Egyptians, who received additional sub-Saharan admixture in more recent times. This analysis establishes ancient Egyptian mummies as a genetic source to study ancient human history and offers the perspective of deciphering Egypt's past at a genome-wide level.

PMID:
28556824
PMCID:
PMC5459999
DOI:
10.1038/ncomms15694
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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