DNA for Mummies!


The Pink Flamingo, like every other writer, has a stack of rejection letters.  My favorite came from the late Isaac Asimov, himself.  I’d written a short story about harvesting DNA from Egyptian mummies and doing the Jurassic Park thing with him.  Asimov wrote back telling me that, of all the science fiction stories he seen over the years, mine was the most outrageous and the most lacking in any form of actual science, even in the distant future.  He went on to tell me no editor in their right mind would ever publish anything that featured the re-creation of any living entity via “lost” DNA.  I don’t think he lived long enough to read Jurassic Park.   And now Dr. Hawass has vindicated my theory!


Dr. Zahi Hawass, the Carl Sagan of Egyptology, has a fascinating article about Tutankhamen’s genealogy.

“...The mummies of Queen Tiye, Queen Nefertiti, and Queen Kiya have yet to be discovered, however it is worth noting that several unidentified royal mummies have been discovered in the past. Whilst the Al-Qasr Al-Aini museum houses the foetus’s which were unearthed by English archaeologist Howard Carter, the discoverer of Tutankhamen’s tomb. They were found buried next to King Tut’s sarcophagus, and there are no indications whether these are the offspring of the young pharaoh or not.

Some experts believe that the burial of these foetus’s inside the tomb holds symbolic significance, in that King Tutankhamen died at a young age, symbolically in as pure a state as the foetus’s, and he would therefore enjoy eternal life after death..

These questions are enigmatic, and archeologists are having a hard time trying to answer them. We have embarked upon the quest to solve the mysteries surrounding King Tut thanks to the two DNA analysis laboratories that we have access to, as well as the availability of a CT-Scan machine, through which we are able to know every single detail about a mummy.

When we first began deciding which mummies we would analyze, I stipulated the necessity of ensuring that this was an Egyptian project. There are a number of notable Egyptian experts in the field of genetics and genetic code analysis, including Dr. Yahya Zakaria, and Dr. Ashraf Salim. Both professors are being assisted by a team of young [Egyptian] scientists who have been trained to the highest level.

I never imagined that there was any hope in obtaining DNA samples from mummies; in fact I believed that we would prove to the world that mummies did not have any DNA [suitable for analysis]. However I was in for a surprise when I entered the royal tomb of Tutankhamen with Professor Zakaria, and we managed to get DNA samples. For the first time, I saw that it is possible to harvest DNA from a mummy, and I believe that this will be the key to solving the mystery surrounding King Tutankhamen’s origins….”