Modern Upper Egyptians
A strange title for a blog entry I know. But this is a result of a little nosing through the DNA studies available of modern Egypt, and some irritation at modern Egyptians being incessantly called ‘thieving Arabs’ by on-line Afrocentrists.
This is more focussed on the Egyptians around Luxor, where old upper Egypt was located. A recent DNA study by Cruciani that focused on the Y chromosome E-M78 revealed that it was ‘born’ in North East Africa , not East Africa as previously thought. This means, that an Egyptian with an m78 Y chromosome has had a male line ancestry reaching back to the Pleistocene inhabitants of Egypt; as far back as the Halfan culture about 24,000 years ago.
Southern Egyptians Y Chromomses are mainly native to Africa, both sub and supra Saharan. This makes a grand total of 80.3% definitively African non-Arab ancestry in the upper Egypt region. Y chromosomes possibly attributable to Arab males are very much in the minority in this area. A rough estimate (since no women invaded Egypt) is that about 5% or less of this population are from non dynastic Egyptian peoples, and not all of these would be Arabs.
Northern Egyptians are a bit more cosmopolitan in their ancestry 64.8% indigenous African. About 20% of the Y chrom0somes are near Eastern in origin, and 10.5 % are R Y chromosomes. However, some of these near eastern and European Y chromosomes show an ancient entry to Africa (G, K2, R1, R1b are 8,000 BP and older) and any historical contribution from foreign men is more likely to be in the 15% area. Divided by two (no recent female contribution to speak of). This makes non-dynastic Egyptian population around the 7% mark in Lower Egypt; and only some of this is Arab.
As for the maternal inheritance; this is more varied. From a study at Gurna (of modern upper Egyptians):
H 14.7%, I 5.9%, J 5.9%, L1a 11.7%, L1e 5.9%, L2a 2.9%, M1 17.6%, N1b 8.8%, T 5.9%, U 8.8% U3 2.9%, U4 5.9% ,L3*(a) 5.9%, L3*(b) 2.9%, Other 2.9%.
Of these, the L haplotypes are typically sub Saharan (23.7%), M1 and U are ancient Eurasian, present at least 30,000 years and many of the other Eurasian haplotypes have been found in 12,000 year old bones in Morocco. The N an I are possibly attributable to Arab ancestry, about 15% non-Arab in upper Egypt. But still, most of that would easily be attributable to the Neolithic input from Asia- and very little of this would be attributable to Arabs
To sum up, there doesn’t seem to be majority ‘Arab’ genetic component to the Egyptian DNA pool, 20% absolute maximum. And a lot of the non African DNA is traceable to the Neolithic farming expansion that swept across North Africa, so it would be a lot lower in reality.
In upper Egypt a maximum of 20% of the Y chromosomes are non African (the Mt DNA has been shown to be the same since dynastic times from Nubian mummy studies).. so how these people are supposed to have magically changed appearance in the past few thousand years with so little foreign input I’d like to know.
Egyptians are Egyptian, not Arab.
Very simplified Y chromosome information from Lucotte 2003.