Faces of 3 ancient Egyptians reconstructed using 2,000-year-old DNA

Scientists have reconstructed the faces of three ancient Egyptian men using DNA that is more than 2,000 years old, according to the US’s Newsweek.

It is believed that this is the first time that modern technologies are used based on human DNA in this era, as the three samples analyzed age between 2,023 and 2,797 years old.

According to Newsweek, the ancient Egyptian trio are “JK2134”, who dates back to 776-569 BC, “JK2888”, estimated to have lived between 97-2BC, and JK2911 who is believed to have lived around 769-560 BC.

Parabon NanoLabs revealed the features of ancient Egyptian mummies, using advanced technology and forensic medicine to predict how the faces of the three men each approximately 25 years old looked like.

It is believed that the skin color of the three men was light brown with black hair.

A press release from the Parabon company that carried out the scientific experiment went into detail, stating: “These results are highly consistent with Schuenemann et al’s conclusions that ‘ancient Egyptians shared more ancestry with Near Easterners than present-day Egyptians, who received additional sub-Saharan admixture in more recent times and that they had an allele for lighter skin.'”

Preliminary data were obtained from the three ancient Egyptian mummies, available in the European Nucleotide Archive (ENA), before they were sequenced and matched to the human reference genome.

“Parabon has been the leader in forensic microarray analysis for years, and with the introduction of this new imputation technology, we can now handle even the most challenging samples, ancient or forensic,” said Dr. Janet Cady bioinformaticist and WGS analyst.


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