The Kabyle DNA Project


Before going into the details, it is necessary for me to give you a first introduction to the field of genetics. When we hear genetic origins, we think first of percentages linked to precise origins, to precise geographical zones, but it is far from being so clear.

Indeed, the results differ greatly depending on the companies, the databases, the algorithms used, or the objectives of the people behind these companies: actually, it is simply impossible to determine the origin of a person with such precision. Let us take as an example one of the most recurrent problems for these percentages. The genes shared by different populations : these can distort the results because they will be categorized in one way rather than another.

We can take as an example the genes shared between Iberians and North Africans, which gives us all percentages of Iberian blood on these tests. It is however true that some companies are more reliable than others in this determination (MyHeritage and FTDNA in particular), while others are outright to throw away (AncestryDNA for example).

Thus, these tests are more made for fun, to please people and entertain them by inventing a myriad of origins, for a profit, than for real scientific purposes.

Are there reliable criteria that are not subject to differences in interpretation that can characterize population genetics?

These criteria, which are the main subjects of genetic studies, are called haplogroups. Under this not very evocative name hides in reality something rather intuitive. To sum up, DNA can be divided into two parts: autosomal DNA, from which the percentages previously explained are extrapolated, and haplogroups. There are two types of haplogroups: patrilineal (paternal) haplogroups and matrilineal (maternal) haplogroups.

A very short biology parenthesis should be made to explain what these haplogroups are: each human being has an X chromosome from his mother, to which is added a Y chromosome from his father if it is a man, or an X chromosome from his father if it is a woman. As generations pass, certain mutations occur on these chromosomes, which are themselves transmitted to subsequent generations. Thus, by studying the mutations on these chromosomes, it is possible to determine precisely the origin of the paternal line from father to son (patrilineal) of a man and the maternal origin from mother to daughter/son of a man or a woman (matrilineal). The study of these mutations is called the study of haplogroups.


Thus, scientists testing many people around the world, and also testing well preserved ancient human remains have been able to attribute to each mutation a very particular origin for example, the E-M81 haplogroup is what is called the Berber haplogroup, the R-M269 haplogroup is the Western Europeans haplogroup, etc….

These haplogroups are defined by the fact of having a mutation or not, there is no place for interpretation, they are something sure, which explains why they’re the ones we study in genetics.

It must be kept in mind that these haplogroups are transmitted only on a single chromosome and represent only a tiny part of the genetic information, they express only the ancient origin of a person..: Thus, a sub-Saharan emigrant who emigrated to Europe thousands of years ago can today have all his blond descendants with blue eyes 99.9% European, but his male descendants will still have the mark on their Y chromosome of their sub-Saharan origin.

It is mainly paternal haplogroups that are studied because males tend to stay on the same land much more than women, who have to go further to marry for example, so maternal haplogroups in the same territory are always much more diverse.

Only one study has been conducted so far on Kabyles, totaling barely 19 samples and thus drawing very false statistics on our origins… This one found in us barely 50% Kabyles of Berber origin E-M81, while they found 15% (3/19) Kabyles of Arab origin J1, 15% of European origin R-M269, etc… As my research progressed and I realized that these percentages were not effective, this project was created to conduct the largest genetic study ever conducted on the Kabyle population and to re-establish the truth about our origins.

…no lineage of Arab origin has so far been found on 100 samples, which means that we are far from the 15% of the previous study!

Are now tabulated more than 100 results of paternal haplogroups Kabyles under the project, which I have summarized in the attached statistics. Out of 100 results, there are 64% of Kabyles of distant native Berber origin, I will not detail here the other percentages not to weigh down the publication, but no lineage of Arab origin has so far been found on 100 samples, which means that we are far from the 15% of the previous study!


Another cool aspect of haplogroups is a consequence of their mode of transmission: for example, I had the opportunity to analyze the DNA of 3 descendants far from each other of the famous Kabyle Sidi Yeḥya n At Σidel, the three possessing the haplogroup J2 (this haplogroup is large and we need to know their subgroup in order to determine their origin) we could deduce that Sidi Yeḥya was J2.

The Berber haplogroup, like all other haplogroups, then branches itself into several subgroups, whose origins we are still searching, however some are of known origin through research on the E-M81 haplogroup: E-Z5009 for the zenaga Berber (senhadja), E-CTS12227 the zenet Berber haplogroup, E-A2227 for the Nafussa Berber, etc…

All that is missing now are results, in order to progress in Kabyle and Berber genetic research: each of you can help us.

By doing a DNA test, you will simultaneously learn your origin and help genetic research.

To help the project there are different ways:

First of all, the privileged one is to have you tested yourself, I work voluntarily with the support of the American laboratory FTDNA which offers the cheapest costs and the most details on haplogroups. While other companies like 23andme will only tell you if you are of Berber origin, FTDNA goes up to tribe level for the E-M81 Berber haplogroup (they give us the raw data, which is then interpreted through our knowledge) and generally gives more details if you belong to another haplogroup. The test is called the Y-12 and costs the modest sum of 59 dollars, it can be ordered at the following address: (the company delivers worldwide and even in Kabylia). In this case, it will be necessary if possible to indicate in your FTDNA profile the maximum of information about your origin: tiwsit (tribe), adrum (clan), etc… The tests of people with a distant family tree are even more valuable, as well as those of people descended from the same ancestor than known personalities for example. (Zidane’s brother tested, which allowed us to know that Zidane is of Berber origin E-M81)

Then, you can make donations on the FTDNA project site itself, which can only be used on this site and which will be mobilized to test families well selected for certain particularities (family tree which goes back far in particular) in Kabylia not having the means to afford such a test. Every donation, however small, is very precious :

You can also join the official project page and group if you have any questions, I am at your disposal. There you will be able to follow the progress of the project and discuss with interested Kabyles.

Thank you for your attention,

Amaziγly yours,

Amaziγ n Ayt-Ɣebṛi



One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s