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Researchers look at 2,400-year-old Egyptian mummies to understand ancient DNA

Researchers look at 2,400-year-old Egyptian mummies to understand ancient DNA

Egyptians are famous for practicing mummification between 2600 BC and 400 AD. In 1985, Swedish biologist and ancient DNA trailblazer Svante Paabo analyzed 23 Egyptian mummies and detected DNA in two adults and an infant. Skin from the infant’s lower leg, approximately 2,400 years old, contained about 5% as much DNA as expected in fresh tissue. Amazingly, this ancient human DNA was well-enough preserved to be recovered, cloned, and sequenced.

Did you know?  Ancient Egyptians mummified rams, gazelles, lions, hawks, fish, birds, dogs, and cats – lots and lots of cats!

1985