Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Were Akhenaten and Nefertiti Cousins?

I'll try to keep this one short because most of the followers of my blog can't read French and that is the language of scholar, Marc Gabolde, in his paper  « L’ADN de la famille royale amarnienne et les sources √©gyptiennes », ENIM 6, 2013, p. 177-203--although it can be accessed in a PDF file online.
 
Gabolde's reasoning is that since Amenhotep III and Yuya seem to be related, according to their shared DNA, Yuya is probably the uncle of the king.  Since Amenhotep III married his cousin, Tiye, it also follows that his heir, Akhenaten, also married a cousin, Nefertiti.  Gabolde believes that the KV35YoungerLady and the KV55 individual are Nefertiti and Akhenaten.  Agreed.  The rest is all reasonable and the DNA evidence, as put forth in the 2010 JAMA paper upholds some of it.
 
My counter-argument is that, if Nefertiti was a cousin of Akhenaten--that would be possible but extrememly unlikely from the DNA picture and the identifications of the mummified and skeletal remains. The YoungerLady [assumed to be Nefertiti] has only the alleles of AIII and Tiye at the 8 markers given--and so does the KV55 individual. It can be seen also, which alleles Tiye inherited from her parents, Yuya and Thuya, but there are many numbers that she did not inherit. A sibling inherits about half the DNA from the same parents,[ which is the case with the YoungerLady and KV55.] Therefore, a brother or a sister of Tiye [whichever was the parent of the YL, [according to the theory of Gabolde] would have had to contribute some other numbers that are not seen in the DNA of the YL as it stands. The same applies to any sibling of Amenhotep III, but we don't know the entire DNA profiles of his parents. Here are the numbers that Queen Tiye did NOT inherit from her parents at the 8 loci:

9 and 19
6 and 13
19 and 27
28 and 34
13 and 10
8 and 12
7 and 9
24 and 25


A sibling of hers should have had many of them and would have passed them on.  But there is not a single different number in the the DNA of the YL or the KV55 individual from those of AIII and Tiye.

Cousins?  No, I don't think so..