Armenian DNA Project - Results

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).

Y-DNA Paternal Haplogroup Distribution of Armenian DNA Project Members (total: 377)
(less 25 known paternal cousins & 0 undetermined haplogroups: n = 352). Updated 1 november 2011

  • Haplogroup R1b1 :       90 = 26%
  • Haplogroup J2 :           73 = 21%
  • Haplogroup G :            48 = 13%
  • Haplogroup J1 :           42 = 12%
  • Haplogroup E1b1b1:  29 =    8%
  • Haplogroup I2 :           17 =   5% 
  • Haplogroup T :            21 =   6%
  • Haplogroup R1a :        10 =   3%
  • Haplogroup R2a :         7 =   2%
  • Haplogroup L :              7 =   2%
  • Haplogroup Q1  :           5 =   1%
  • Haplogroup :              2 =   0.6%
  • Haplogroup A :              1 =   0.3% 

  • mtDNA Maternal Haplogroup Distribution of Armenian DNA Project Members (
    total: 170
    (less 4 known maternal cousins: n = 166). Updated 1 november 2011

  • mtDNA haplogroup H :    45 = 27%
  • mtDNA haplogroup U :    27 = 16%
  • mtDNA haplogroup J :     21 = 13%
  • mtDNA haplogroup HV :  20 = 12%
  • mtDNA haplogroup T :      14 =   8%
  • mtDNA haplogroup :       9 =   5%
  • mtDNA haplogroup :       8 =   5%
  • mtDNA haplogroup :       6 =   4%
  • mtDNA haplogroup :         6 =  4%
  • mtDNA haplogroup W :      4 =   3%
  • mtDNA haplogroup R :       3 =   2%
  • mtDNA haplogroup :       2 =   1%
  • mtDNA haplogroup F :        1 =   1%

  • ***********************************

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

    F1b1: HQ108344  H*: HM775971  H*JN051365  H1uJN604117  H2a1: FJ496869  H4JN646688 H5HQ877768  H7b1JF896454  H8JF903930  H8JF960238  H13*: HQ234355  H13b: GU228506 H14aJN609592 H15b: JF901940 H15b: JN651417 HV*: HQ287727  HV (73)HQ436102 HV1JF320654   HV1a: JF316743  HV1a1: FJ210914  HV1a1a1: HM575427  HV1b (152): HM998901  HV1b (152): HQ165756  HV1b (152): HQ412622  HV12HQ844516  HV12JN053060  HV13: JF700125  HV2*: HQ015160  I*JF298212  I1a: HM454265  I1b: FJ234984  I4JN660158  J1b: HM992836  J1b: HQ637485  J1bHQ914447  J1bJN561091  J1b1aJF286633 J1b1b1JF929909 J1b1b1JF939049 J1b2JN648827  J1b3: HM594676  J1c: HM775495  J1c2JN663354  J1d: HM453206  J1d: HQ325739  J1d1JF292900  J2b1HQ727682  K1aJF303729 K1aJF893456 K1a1bJN048471 K1a2JN647926_ K1a4b1JN088539 K1a4c: HQ435872  K1a4c: HQ538515  N1b1: HQ286324  N1b1JF265069  N1b1bHQ435319  N1b1b: HQ315687  N2aJF904935  N2aJN381503  R1a: HQ602771  R3: HM996895  T1aJN083377  T2a: FJ238094  T2b: HQ638221  T2f: HQ286590  U1b: HQ325737  U3a: HQ436348  U3bJN663380  U3b2: HQ257369  U4b1bJN647925  U5a1a2a : HQ588904  V : HQ645963  W*HQ844617  W(194): HM352797  W6: EU515252  W6JF286634  X: HQ456226  X2: 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 of people living in the historical Armenian regions corresponds to the DNA of modern Armenians.

    As per Colin Renfrew: "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: "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." 

    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: