An Egyptian-Japanese bid to extract DNA samples from the mummy of Egypt's legendary pharaoh Tutankhamun has been postponed at least several weeks for bureaucratic reasons, a project coordinator said Monday.
Egyptian and Japanese researchers trying to determine Tutankhamun's lineage were to have begun probing his cadaver at his tomb in the southern city of Luxor on Tuesday.
But there was a delay in bringing the Japanese team here because of formalities required of all foreigners participating in research in Egypt, coordinator Nasri Iskander told AFP.
"But the Egyptian antiquities authorities have already given their agreement, which means the project will still go ahead," said Iskander, head of the Center for Research and Conservation of Antiquities here.
The exact date for the work to proceed has not been set but Iskander said it could take place as early as the beginning of January.
Researchers hope to determine whether Tutankhamun is the son of Amenhotep III, whose remains will also be studied.
Tutankhamun lies in the tomb where he was discovered near Luxor, although its golden treasures are exhibited in the National Museum of Cairo, where Amenhotep III's body rests, Iskander said.
Iskander's team, along with Egyptian geneticists, will work with archeologists and medical doctors from Tokyo's Waseda University and Nagoya University in central Japan.
Researchers want to settle a dispute over whether Tutankhamun was the son of Amenhotep III or Akhenaten, who was known to worship one god, according to Mohammed al-Saghir, a specialist at the ministry of culture.
Samples also may be taken from two mummies found in a nearby grave to determine their ties to Tutankhamun, Iskander said.
For example, one cadaver may turn out to be that of Queen Tiy, who was the wife of Amenhotep III and who may be proven through DNA tests to be Tutankhamun's mother, Iskander added.
Tutankhamun ascended the throne as a boy in 1354 BC and ruled until he died at around the age of 18.
His coffin, one of the few to escape the predation of graverobbers, was discovered in 1922 by British explorer Howard Carter in the Valley of the Kings, in arid mountainous terrain on the west bank of the Nile near Luxor -- CAIRO (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)