Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten Had "Androgynous" Build

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Egyptologist and archaeologist Donald B. Redford said he supports Braverman's belief that Akhenaten had Marfan Syndrome, a genetic disorder marked by lengthened features, including fingers and the face.

Visiting clinics that treat those with the condition has strengthened that conviction, "but this is very subjective, I must admit," said Redford, a professor of classic and ancient Mediterranean studies at Penn State University.

Others have theorized Akhenaten and his lineage had Froehlich's Syndrome, which causes feminine fat distribution but also sterility. That doesn't fit Akhenaten, who had at least six daughters, Braverman said.

Klinefelter Syndrome, a genetic condition that can also cause gynecomastia, or male breast enlargement, has also been suggested, but Braverman said he suspects familial gynecomastia, a hereditary condition that leads to the overproduction of estrogen.

(Read related story: "Men With Breasts: Benign Condition Creates Emotional Scars" [August 11, 2006].)

Mummy Study?

The Yale doctor said determining whether he is right can easily be done if Egyptologists can confirm which mummy is Akhenaten's and if Egyptian government officials agree to DNA analysis.

Braverman hopes his theory will lead them to do just that.

"I'm hoping that after we have this conference and I bring this up, maybe the Egyptologists who work on these things all the time, maybe they will be stimulated to look," he said.

Previous conferences have examined the deaths of Edgar Allan Poe, Alexander the Great, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Florence Nightingale, and others.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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