Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Modern domestic dog has a single geographic origin

August 7, 2017

By analyzing the DNA of two prehistoric dogs from Germany, an international research team led by Krishna R. Veeramah, Ph.D., of Stony Brook University in the USA has determined that their genomes were the probable ancestors of modern European dogs. The study also suggests that all contemporary dogs have a common origin and emerged through a single domestication process of wolves 20,000 to 40,000 years ago. Researchers at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) also participated in the study, the results of which recently have been published in Nature Communications.

Dogs were the first animals to be domesticated by humans. The oldest remains of dogs that can be clearly distinguished from those of wolves originate from what is now Germany and are about 15,000 years old. Unfortunately, the archaeological record is ambiguous, with claims of ancient domesticated dog bones from the most varied locations as far away as Siberia.

Only last year were researchers able to sequence the genome of a 5,000-year-old dog from Ireland using the latest paleogenomic techniques. The results of the study led the research team at the University of Oxford to suggest dogs were domesticated not once but twice. In addition, the research team also hypothesized that an indigenous dog population domesticated in Europe was replaced by incoming migrants independently domesticated in East Asia during the Neolithic period.

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