King Tut's DNA tests reveal a twisted family tree

Published: Feb. 17, 2010 at 4:04 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 17, 2010 at 12:43 PM EST
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By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX10) - Ash Wednesday is a big day for Egyptologists. New DNA research done on 11 royal mummies will be officially released and with some startling revelations about King Tutankhamen.

One of the area's leading researchers on all things Egypt at the Cincinnati Museum Center says the boy king had a troubled life. If this had been a reality show thousands of years ago, A Jerry Springer-type might be standing there, revealing that, "Tut's Mama was his Daddy's sister!"

"Akhenaten and Akhenaten's sister gave birth to Tut," said Dr. Gene Kritsky, who is a former Fulbright Scholar in Egypt and has lived and traveled there extensively, to all key archaeological sites.

Kritsky said the Boy King is a product of an incestual relationship between his father and his father's sister.

"There's been a lot of confusion about Tut's family," Kritsky said. "We thought that his father might have been Amenhotep the lll, the father of Akhenaten, Akhenaten was thought of as Tut's father and the pharaoh between Tut and Akhenaten. Smenkhkara has also been suggested to be the father of Tutankhamen."

Theories have been swirling out there for thousands of years

"Every researcher had their favorite theory," said Kritsky.

But most of Tut's family records were destroyed after his father died. The first clue came from a re-used stone.

"And that re-used stone actually states that Tut is of Akhenaten's body," said Kritsky. "It was hoped that they'd be able to pinpoint for certain who was King Tut's father."

But as far as Tut's mother, she was long thought by some to be Queen Kia or Queen Nefertiti.

"It's not Nefertiti," said Kritsky. "This woman was also Akhenaten's sister and that mummy's been identified, but it doesn't have a name."

Maybe now, new DNA testing could someday reveal even more information about our own boy mummy, Umi. He may have lived a healthier life than Tut.

"We know he wasn't murdered which was always the big deal," said Kritsky. "There's actually novels out right now about his alleged murder."

So Tut was not murdered and was a very unhealthy kid. He was born with a club foot and walked with a cane. Several canes were found inside his tomb. Tut had a cleft palate and a degenerative bone disease which contributed to, but was not the main cause of death. The new DNA tests confirm Tut died from malaria and this is some of the oldest evidence of malaria in the human species.

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