Worldwide Wednesday: The Battle Over King Tut’s DNA

Everything was going fine for the documentary on King Tut’s DNA when the scientific study was abruptly called to a halt. Why? In an article called Tutankhamun’s Blood: Why everyone from the Mormons to the Muslim Brotherhood is desperate for a piece of the Pharaoh writer Jo Marchant writes

“Woodward and a team from Brigham Young, a Mormon university named after one of the movement’s early leaders, raised suspicions that they might be looking for distant ancestors they could convert to their religion. One prominent Egyptologist talked to me about Woodward’s work at Faiyum on condition of anonymity: there was a feeling that they wanted to baptize the bodies.

Woodward’s research grew even more controversial as he got closer to the royal mummies. Was he looking for ancestors there, too? Could he have been planning to convert the pharaohs?

Woodward now heads an organization called the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, which combines family trees with DNA profiling and studies the genetic origins of Native Americans. He did not respond to my requests for an interview and has never commented publicly on why his work was cut short.
Learn more about the controversy surrounding the scientific investigation of King Tut’s Blood.