Armenian genes: Scientist in Yerevan launches a project to reveal genetic history of the nation

“Who are my ancestors by nationality, where my roots do come from?” Ashot Margaryan, 25-years-old geneticist will get the answers to these questions in three months, thanks to scientific research carried out by the Institute of Molecular Biology of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, where Margaryan works.

An ambitious experiment which started in January aims on reconstruction of genetic history of Armenia and is to provide the most precise interpretation of Armenians’ genetic DNA makeup.

Margaryan is one of 500 Armenians taking part in the project, which is free of charge (such tests usually cost about $1,000).

“I know that I am from Western Armenia by origin, but I want to be sure of it by means of this scientific experiment once and for all. Besides, I appreciate the idea of proving that Armenians are not new comers in Armenia,” Margaryan says.

Levon Yepiskoposyan, author of the idea and professor of the Institute of Molecular Biology, believes that thanks to such experiments it will be possible to restore the genetic evolution and history of Armenians, which are very often misinterpreted by various documentary and historical facts dictated by different authorities.

“There is a scientific approach (to the matter) that is 30 years old, which gives an opportunity to restore the history according to the information that is recorded in our gene pool,” he says.

The blood of only men is gathered, because they, unlike women, have the genes of both parents by 50-50 proportion, and the possibility of defining genes among men is 100 percent.

This science was originated in UK and was spread in other European countries later. It enables restoring the history of any nation by means of DNA.

As for Armenians, within the recent 13 years about 2,500 people were subject to a scientific research in Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Diaspora, Javakhk, and among Hamshen Armenians But the researches were carried out with saliva and not blood.

“As a result, we managed to figure out something very important to us: Armenians in Syunik province and Nagorno-Karabakh lived here even 40-50 thousand years ago, when Homo Sapiens appeared in this territory,” the scientist says.

According to him, such researches are not held in neighboring Azerbaijan and Georgia, because their nations are not homogenous enough.

The Government allots 30,000 drams ($81) (per person) for this scientific research, and the remaining expenses are covered by various international grants won by Yepiskoposyan.

The scientist plans to gather blood samples from another 200 volunteers. Those who wish to participate in the experiment, may visit the Institute of Molecular Biology of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, or call +37491 42 80 17, +37410 28 16 26.