Ancient Egyptian mummy genomes suggest an increase of Sub-Saharan African ancestry in post-Roman periods
OPEN Nature communications | 31 May 2017
VJ Schuenemann, A Peltzer, B Welte, WP van Pelt, M Molak, CC Wang, A Furtwängler, C Urban, E Reiter, K Nieselt, B Teßmann, M Francken, K Harvati, W Haak, S Schiffels and J Krause
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.
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