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Not Entertained

LiveScience's Stephanie Pappas this week reports that while the Swiss personal genomics firm iGENEA suggests that more than half of all Western European men are to some degree related to the historic pharaoh King Tutankhamun, the researchers "who worked to decode Tut's genome … say the claim is 'unscientific.'" The iGENEA team, which claims to have constructed a second-hand DNA profile of Tutankhamun, initiated its study of the boy-king "based on what they say are genetic markers that appeared on a computer screen during a Discovery Channel special on the famous pharaoh's genetic lineage," Pappas says. Those alleged markers put the pharoah in the haplogroup R1b1a2, the iGENEA team claims, telling LiveScience it "is now searching for the closest living relatives of Tutankhamun," and will offer refunds for their $179 to $399 testing fees to those who share all 16 markers they claim to have viewed on TV. But the University of Tubingen's Carsten Pusch and other researchers are not entertained by the company's claims. Pusch tells LiveScience that the European Academy of Bolzano's Albert Zink "screened the [TV program] footage and confirmed that the company acts very unscientific." Pusch adds that iGENEA "did not try to get into contact with us prior to launching their new Internet page."

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