Armenian DNA Project - Goals

This project has two complementary sets of goals:

(1) Understand the genetic makeup and deep genetic history of the Armenian people. In the process, we hope to make sense of the historical impact of population migrations, invasions and expansions.

(2) Provide a tool for genealogists to trace their recent Armenian ancestors, augmenting historical documentation (primarily from countries of the diaspora - ship lists, censuses, naturalization records, vital records, etc.) and oral traditions. Descendants of known diaspora Armenians who were scattered all over the world in the past centuries might rediscover their roots. Descendants of Genocide orphans may be able to find long lost relatives. Descendants of Armenian families which became separated during and after World War I can have a way of finding each other at long last. To facilitate these goals, project participants are encouraged to include information (name, date/place of birth/death, etc.) about their earliest known direct male ancestor (in the case of Y-DNA) or earliest known direct female ancestor (in the case of mtDNA).

Ever since Armenians lost much of their historical lands, the twin pillars of religion and language have stood in defence of their national identity. Might a third such pillar be constructed from DNA?

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Excerpt from an editorial in the 18 June 2010 issue of The Economist ©: "The oracle at Delphi had two maxims posted above the entrance to her chamber, for the edification of those who sought her prophecy: “Know thyself” and “Nothing in excess”. Self-knowledge is often the hardest to learn and the least welcome, but the brutal truth is best. Humanity had better hope so, anyway, for the truth will soon out for the entire species... Humanity’s foibles will be laid bare. The species’s history, from its tentative beginning in north-east Africa to its current imperial dominion, has already been revealed, just through being able to read the genome. It is now possible, too, to compare Homo sapiens with his closest relative—not the living chimpanzee, with whom he parted company perhaps 5m years ago, but the extinct Neanderthal, a true human. That will do what philosophers have dreamed of, but none has yet accomplished: show just what it is that makes Homo sapiens unique. The genome will answer, too, the age-old question of original sin. By showing what is nature, it will reveal what is nurture—and thus just how flexible and perfectible the human animal really is... Genomics may reveal that humans really are brothers and sisters under the skin. The species is young, so there has been little time for differences to evolve. Politically, that would be good news. It may turn out, however, that some differences both between and within groups are quite marked. If those differences are in sensitive traits like personality or intelligence, real trouble could ensue. People must be prepared for this possibility, and ready to resist the excesses of racialism, nationalism and eugenics that some are bound to propose in response. That will not be easy. The liberal answer is to respect people as individuals, regardless of the genetic hand that they have been dealt. Genetic knowledge, however awkward, does not change that."

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Since we are focusing on the deep genetic history of Armenians, we are of course interested in tracking down the migration, exodus or relocation of Armenians outside of their traditional lands before the 1500's. Most if not all of these Armenians lost their ethnic, linguistic and religious identity over time.  The following links can be of interest on this subject: The Armenians in the Byzantine Empire by Peter Charanis; The Fatimid Armenians: Cultural & Political Interaction in the Near East by Seta B. Dadoyan; Armenians in Romania; Armenians in Iran by George A. Bournoutian; The Hemshin, edited by Hovann H. Simonian



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Projet ADN Arménien

Objectifs Le Projet ADN Arménien a deux séries complémentaires d'objectifs:

(1) Etudier la composition génétique du peuple Arménien et retracer son histoire génétique profonde. Nous voulons trouver les traces génétiques des peuples maintenant disparus dont les descendants constituent la population Arménienne actuelle (Armens, Colchidiens, Hatti, Hayasa, Hayk, Hittites, Hourrites, Gasgas, Luwiens, Mitanni, Mushkis, Pala, Phrygiens, Ourartiens, etc.) ainsi que celles des envahisseurs qui ont conquis ou traversé les terres Arméniennes (Assyriens, Gamrik-Gimirri-Cimmériens, Grecs, Parthes, Romains, Scythes, Macédoniens, Mèdes, Perses, etc.). Nous espérons ainsi mieux comprendre l'impact historique des migrations et des invasions.

(2) Fournir un outil supplémentaire pour permettre aux généalogistes Arméniens de retrouver la trace de leurs ancêtres - suppléant ainsi à la documentation historique (principalement en provenance des pays de la diaspora: listes de navires, recensements, dossiers de naturalisation, actes d'état civil, etc.) et aux traditions orales. Les descendants d’orphelins du génocide seront peut être en mesure de trouver des liens de parenté avec d’autres Arméniens, redécouvrant ainsi leurs villes et villages d’origine. Les descendants des familles Arméniennes séparées durant et après la Première Guerre mondiale peuvent finalement avoir un moyen de se retrouver. Finalement, les descendants d'Arméniens de la diaspora qui ont été dispersés à travers le monde durant les siècles passés pourront peut être ainsi redécouvrir leurs anciennes racines. Afin de faciliter ces objectifs, nous encourageons les membres du Projet ADN Arménien à fournir des informations sur leurs ancêtres paternels et maternels directs (nom et prénom, date et lieu de naissance et de décès, ville ou village d’origine, etc.)

Pour mieux comprendre le sujet, voir la conférence en Français intitulée: "Armenian DNA Project: analyse ADN et histoire de peuples - le cas arménien" donnée au Centre Culturel Arménien de Bruxelles, Belgique le 17 janvier 2014. La conférence a été suivie du session de questions et réponses.

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You can use this link to the Index Anatolicus website to determine the Turkish name of your village / town / city of origin.

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The screen shot below shows the towns / villages of origin of the members of the Armenian DNA Project. All regions in which Armenians lived historically are well represented.