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Jun 01, 2017 09:26 AM EDT

Scientists have subjected several Egyptian ancient mummies to DNA sequencing and found something surprising - ancient and modern Egyptians have little or nothing more in common. Instead, they are genetically similar to people from Israel or Lebanon.

A team of scientists examined more than a hundred mummies they excavated 100 kilometers south of Cairo. According to radiocarbon dating, these Egyptians lived between 1388 BCE and 426 CE.

This was the second time scientists analyzed the DNA from Egyptian mummies. The first time was in 2010 but they were contaminated making it impossible to m ake the distinction. This time, the researchers were able to get a more accurate DNA sequence using more sophisticated and precise instruments.

After comparing the DNA sequence of these ancient mummies to the modern-day Egyptians, they were entirely different groups of people based on their genetic makeup. The ancient Egyptians were more genetically similar to people who live near the Near East, like the Lebanese, Israelis, and Syrians.

Based on their genetic sequences, 20 percent of modern Egyptians have sub-Saharan DNA while their ancestors did not have any of these genes. Johannes Krause, the lead author of the study, said that the genetic variation of modern Egyptians might be the result of their increased contact with other races or tribes in Africa, or because of the spread of Islam.

In order to get an accurate DNA reading, the scientists studied every DNA they could find in the Egyptian mummies. Then, they isolated those they detected belonging to humans. After that, they examined the patterns that show damage in the DNA and ignore those that have been contaminated because of time.

According to the scientists, the result of the DNA sequencing will further reveal the mystery of these ancient people who occupied the area thousands of years ago.

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Follows DNA sequencing, radiocarbon dating, genetic sequence
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