Armenian DNA Project

  • 1177 members

About us

According to Professor Levon Yepiskoposyan of the Institute of Molecular Biology in Yerevan: "Y chromosome haplotypes diversity in the modern Armenian population reveals strong regional structure with marked separation of mountainous (Syunik region in the south of Armenia, and Karabakh) and valley (Ararat valley, northern and western regions of historical Armenia) groups." The mountain groups have a greater concentration of R1b1 while the valley groups have a greater concentration of J2 & J1 (and to a lesser extent, slightly greater concentrations of G & E1b1b1).

The two maps showing the distribution of the Y-DNA and mtDNA haplogroups in the Armenian DNA Project are no longer shown after a large number of members were withdrawn from the Armenian DNA Project.

Complete mitochondrial DNA genome sequences of Armenian DNA Project members filed with GenBank (79 in total as of 3 october 2011):

F1b1: HQ108344  H28JN051365  H1uJN604117  H2a1: FJ496869  H4JN646688 H5HQ877768  H7b1JF896454  H8JF903930  H8JF960238  H13c: HQ234355  H13b1: GU228506 H14aJN609592 H15b: JF901940 H15b: JN651417 H26HM775971  HV*: HQ287727  HV (73)HQ436102 HV1JF320654   HV1a2: JF316743  HV1a1b: FJ210914  HV1a1a: HM575427  HV1b3: HM998901  HV1b (152): HQ165756  HV1b3: HQ412622  HV12a1HQ844516  HV12a1JN053060  HV13: JF700125  HV2a: HQ015160  I7JF298212  I1a: HM454265  I1b: FJ234984  I4aJN660158  J1b4a2: HM992836  J1b4a2: HQ637485  J1b8HQ914447  J1b4a1JN561091  J1b1a3JF286633 J1b1b1JF929909 J1b1b1bJF939049 J1b2JN648827  J1b3a: HM594676  J1c: HM775491  J1c2JN663354  J1d4: HM453206  J1d2a: HQ325739  J1d1aJF292900  J2b1fHQ727682  K1aJF303729 K1aJF893456 K1a1bJN048471 K1a2JN647926_ K1a4b1JN088539 K1a4c: HQ435872  K1a4c: HQ538515  N1b1a: HQ286324  N1b1aJF265069  N1b1a2HQ435319  N1b1a2a: HQ315687  N2aJF904935  N2aJN381503  R1a1: HQ602771  R1b: HM996895  T1aJN083377  T2a2: FJ238094  T2b: HQ638221  T2f2: HQ286590  U1b1: HQ325737  U3a: HQ436348  U3bJN663380  U3b2a1: HQ257369  U4b1b1JN647925  U5a1a2a : HQ588904  V15: HQ645963  W7HQ844617  W7: HM352797  W6c1a: EU515252  W6JF286634  X4: HQ456226  X2i: HQ529295 

Academics who want to include these sequences in their research can get in touch with the project administrators.

It remains to be seen if the ancient DNA (aDNA) of people living in the historical Armenian regions corresponds to the DNA of modern Armenians. The aDNA of people who lived on the Armenian Plateau in the Bronze and Iron ages are currently being analysed and studied. Results should be released before the end of 2015.

As per Colin Renfrew in 2010: In addition, there is one obvious path of investigation that does deserve to be explored further — ancient DNA. Of course this is a difficult field — it depends upon the availability of adequately preserved human remains, and the problems of contamination from living humans are well known. But there are puzzling findings from early farming (Linienbandkeramik) sites in central Europe, indicating that the populations in question did not survive or at least did not get fully integrated into succeeding populations. This requires further examination, as it bears on a general problem of archaeogenetics. Possible population extinctions might call into question the extent to which mtDNA or Y-DNA data from the contemporary populations represent the communities existing in the relevant locations at the times in question. This is where ancient DNA may yet prove to be of crucial importance; not in establishing detailed patterns for early populations — the data are unlikely to be rich enough for that—but in offering spot checks on the conclusions about the past which we are deriving from data taken from populations living today. This may indeed be where the future lies if speculations based on the phylogeography of haplotypes from currently living populations are to be rooted in historical reality." 

As per Dienekes Pontikos in 2010: "Ancient DNA can prove the existence of a particular Y-chromosome haplogroup within a securely dated population. Of course there are issues of possible contamination, but these can be addressed beyond a reasonable doubt when appropriate protocols and tests for contamination are in place. Ancient DNA cannot prove the absence of a particular Y-chromosome haplogroup from a population. However, it can render it very improbable if a large enough sample is studied. So, ancient DNA is very relevant both for the existence and the absence of a haplogroup in a certain area at a certain time. On the whole ancient DNA, properly done, provides much better evidence for past populations than inferences from modern populations. Too many assumptions are needed to peer into the past by studying modern populations, and in the vast majority of cases -with the caveat about sample sizes- when we looked at prehistoric populations we did not get a picture of simple continuity." Also: "The more we learn about prehistory, the less we can believe in the paradigm of static people changing their subsistence, technology, language from the Paleolithic to the present. Migrationism is overdue for a comeback as an explanatory tool for the plethora of unexpected results that the bones of ancient humans present us with." 

As per Luca Ermini, Clio Der Sarkissian, Eske Willerslev and Ludovic Orlando in 2015: Ancient DNA research has now come of age with replicable and stringent procedures (Fig. 1), and in 2010, i.e., no later than a decade after the reference human genome was characterized (Lander et al., 2001; Venter et al., 2001), the first ancient human genome sequence was released (Rasmussen et al., 2010). With the massive throughput of so-called next-generation sequencing (NGS) platforms, the complete genomes of at least eight ancient humans have been characterized at 1X to up to 20X coverage (average number of times a genomic position is sequenced from independent templates) (Rasmussen et al., 2010, 2011, 2014; Keller et al., 2012; Raghavan et al., 2013; Olalde et al., 2014; Skoglund et al., 2014). The genome of our known closest relatives, the Neanderthals, has also been characterized (Green et al., 2010; Prüfer et al., 2014) together with that of other archaic hominins, the Denisovans (Reich et al., 2010; Krause et al., 2010a; Meyer et al., 2012). Their quality even competes with that achieved in sequencing the genome of living individuals. Ancient DNA researchers have also gathered genome-wide sequence data of a few more ancient individuals (S_anchez-Quinto et al., 2012; Skoglund et al., 2012; Fu et al., 2013a; Olalde et al., 2014) and many new complete ancient human genomes are expected in the forthcoming months. The recent success in characterizing a first draft of the genome from a 560e780 kyr (thousands of years) old horse (Orlando et al., 2013) and the almost complete mitochondrial genome of Homo heidelbergensis (Meyer et al., 2014) augurs for the genome sequencing of archaic hominins who lived in the Middle Pleistocene (Millar and Lambert, 2013). Besides nuclear genomes, many ancient mtDNA markers have illuminated our understanding of past population migration dynamics (Krause et al., 2010b; Fu et al., 2012; Brotherton et al., 2013), often revealing important features that were difficult to reconstruct from modern genetic data alone... Ancient DNA, and more generally the analysis of ancient biomolecules, promise to soon reveal our past with unprecedented accuracy.

Full text of the article from which the above mentioned is excerpted "Major transitions in human evolution revisited: A tribute to ancient DNA."

Click on this link for a complete listing of Ancient Western Eurasian DNA discoveries. There has been an enormous growth in such DNA discoveries in the past two years. The periods now covered are (oldest first): Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Copper Age/Chalcolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Chinese Dynastic, Roman, Medieval and, finally, Modern Royalty.

Links to other regional DNA projects and blogs listed alphabetically: