Members of the Armenian community were asked to provide DNA samples on Sunday after a Christmas church service in Nicosia for research that aims to map the genetic background of the Cypriot population, The Cyprus Mail reports.
Armenians celebrate Christmas on January 6 and the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics (Cing) – which is carrying out the research – has chosen this date as the most suitable for the DNA collection since it the church was expected to see a bigger turnout than usual.
Members of the Armenian community over the age of 18 who were born in Cyprus and who wanted to participate in the project, were to give saliva samples after the liturgy.
The aim of the study, supervised by Professor Marios Cariolou of the Cing’s Department of Cardiovascular Genetics and the Laboratory of Forensic Genetics, is to identify the genetic profile of Armenians living in Cyprus.
The project, according to Cariolou, is a continuation of efforts to study the background of the Cypriot population.
Cariolou and his team have already published the results of a similar study on Greek and Turkish Cypriots which revealed a common pre-Ottoman paternal ancestry between members of the two communities. Next in line are Armenians, Maronites and later on, Latins, he said.
“We have already collected some DNA samples from Maronites and now we are collecting from the Armenian community,” Cariolou told the Sunday Mail.
“The final goal is to study the genetic background of the Cypriot population,” he said.
The overall project is aimed at providing important historical and scientific data on the genetic background of all Cypriots residing in Cyprus.
Researchers will analyse the Y-chromosome of DNA samples from men whose father is of Armenian extraction and the mitochondrial DNA of women whose either mother or father are Armenian.