"Some statues of Tut's father show him grotesquely deformed, and historians wondered if he'd had some kind of feminizing disorder or was it just the artistic style," Thompson said. "These researchers answered the question."
As genetic and other tests continue to be developed and honed, Markel brought up ethical considerations about digging up remains.
"Most of us don't want our graves to be disrupted; those are the kinds of things we want to think about very carefully," he said. "The Egyptologists doing this study actually thought very deeply about it and had a bioethicist consulted."
And while, at least for now, this seems like it could be the final autopsy on the long-dead king, "technology is a shifting target and there might be things that become available in the future that might be yet another way to analyze this," Mininberg said.
Learn more about mummies at the Smithsonian Institution.
SOURCES: Howard Markel, M.D., Ph.D., director, Center for the History of Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor; Randall C. Thompson, M.D., professor, medicine, University of Missouri, Kansas City, and attending cardiologist, Mid-America Heart Institute, Kansas City; David Mininberg, M.D., emeritus professor, urology, and senior lecturer, urology and public health, Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University, New York City; Feb. 17, 2010, Journal of the American Medical Association
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