DNA tests on Peru’s “Juanita” mummy planned

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Scientists are hoping to learn more about the origins of Peru’s famous “Mummy Juanita” through DNA testing using the stem cells stored in the subject’s umbilical cord.

DNA tests on Peru's "Juanita" mummy planned
Researchers say that advanced technology will help them make new discoveries
 about Juanita’s genealogical origins [Credit: Andina]

The mummy was found in 1995 by anthropologist Johan Reinhard in southern Peru. According to La Republica, Juanita was approximately 13 years old at the time of her death. She was apparently killed by a blow to the back of the head as part of an Inca human sacrifice ritual.

Though some DNA analysis was performed shortly after the discovery of the mummy, scientists believe they may be able to use recent developments in technology to shed more light on Juanita’s story.

El Comercio reports that investigators plan to use samples taken from the mummy’s umbilical cord in order to carry out their research.

Jose Antonio Chavez, director of the Santuarios Andinos museum where Juanita is on display, told press that “Broadening the scientific studies of the stem cells in the umbilical cord of the Mummy Juanita will be opportune because it will allow us to obtain more information about the origin of the sacrificed adolescent and her family.”

El Comercio reports that investigators also plan to examine the seeds and pollen found preserved with Juanita in order to learn more about the climate of the period in which she lived.

Author: Rachel Chase | Source: Peru this Week [May 19, 2014]

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