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mtDNA Data Indicate a Single Origin for Dogs South of Yangtze River, Less Than 16,300 Years Ago, from Numerous Wolves
KTH, School of Biotechnology (BIO), Gene Technology.
KTH, School of Biotechnology (BIO), Gene Technology.
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2009 (English)In: Molecular biology and evolution, ISSN 0737-4038, E-ISSN 1537-1719, Vol. 26, no 12, 2849-2864 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There is no generally accepted picture of where, when, and how the domestic dog originated. Previous studies of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) have failed to establish the time and precise place of origin because of lack of phylogenetic resolution in the so far studied control region (CR), and inadequate sampling. We therefore analyzed entire mitochondrial genomes for 169 dogs to obtain maximal phylogenetic resolution and the CR for 1,543 dogs across the Old World for a comprehensive picture of geographical diversity. Hereby, a detailed picture of the origins of the dog can for the first time be suggested. We obtained evidence that the dog has a single origin in time and space and an estimation of the time of origin, number of founders, and approximate region, which also gives potential clues about the human culture involved. The analyses showed that dogs universally share a common homogenous gene pool containing 10 major haplogroups. However, the full range of genetic diversity, all 10 haplogroups, was found only in southeastern Asia south of Yangtze River, and diversity decreased following a gradient across Eurasia, through seven haplogroups in Central China and five in North China and Southwest (SW)Asia, down to only four haplogroups in Europe. The mean sequence distance to ancestral haplotypes indicates an origin 5,400-16,300 years ago (ya) from at least 51 female wolf founders. These results indicate that the domestic dog originated in southern China less than 16,300 ya, from several hundred wolves. The place and time coincide approximately with the origin of rice agriculture, suggesting that the dogs may have originated among sedentary hunter-gatherers or early farmers, and the numerous founders indicate that wolf taming was an important culture trait.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 26, no 12, 2849-2864 p.
Keyword [en]
dog, Canis familiaris, domestication, mitochondrial DNA, domestic dog, world dogs, dna, genome, archaeology, sequences, ancestor, east
National Category
Genetics Medical Bioscience
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-18962DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msp195ISI: 000271818500018ScopusID: 2-s2.0-70450227389OAI: diva2:337009
QC 20100525Available from: 2010-08-05 Created: 2010-08-05 Last updated: 2012-05-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Molecular Profiling of the Population Dynamics: Foundation and Expansion of an Archaic Domesticate
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Molecular Profiling of the Population Dynamics: Foundation and Expansion of an Archaic Domesticate
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

"An ‘exponential growth of science’ throughout modern history has been frequently boasted by numerous narcissistic accounts of ‘modern humanity.’ Nonetheless, ‘modern science’ seems to have overwhelmingly compromised on its original promises by fitting into an ‘industrial scheme.’ With this concern, ‘molecular phylogeographics with conservational ambitions’ would look an intact ground for research efforts in a ‘school of biotechnology.’ The dog (Canis familiaris) as an earliest domestic animal has a history of conflicts over its origins and dispersal. Having those disputes addressed, valuable knowledge could be acquired on the nature and dynamics of domestication, and of human societies particularly of pre-agricultural ages. We employed two most widely-used genealogical markers, the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and the non-recombining portion of the Y-chromosome (NRY), to address dog demography. Through 582 bps of mtDNA Control Region, complemented with whole mitochondrial genomes, it was established that almost all maternal lineages of the domestic dog worldwide coalesce to a population of at least 51 and perhaps many more female wolves in Asia South of Yangtze River (ASY) approximately 16,000 years before present (BP). This was based on the presence of a maximal diversity in this area, a descending gradient of diversity outward it, and a ubiquitous population structure everywhere in the world. A closer examination of this portrait in Southwest Asia (SwAsia) and the Fertile Crescent (FC), a region which has supplied persuasive evidence on early presence of the domestic dog, retrieved the same information, with implications for backbreeding with the local wolf population. Meanwhile, analyses of mtDNA dispersal showed that dogs took the long way via land to Madagascar Island, and not together with humans via sea. By the other approach, the NRY data in 14,437 bps length supplemented the mtDNA in reporting the height of diversity from ASY with a founding population of at least 13 male wolves, but expectably produced lower inter-regional differentiation by diversity. Screening of NRY by a SNP assay in the dingoes of Australia Island as a population of feral dogs revealed restricted and similar dispersal patterns for sires and dams. Prospects of ancient, multilocus and whole genome assays with the emerging high-throughput technologies has still more to promise on finer elaborations of these issues."

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2012. 47 p.
Trita-BIO-Report, ISSN 1654-2312 ; 2012:7
Dog, wolf, dingo, mtDNA, NRY, SNP, Madagascar, Australia, domestication
National Category
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-95688 (URN)978-91-7501-349-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-06-08, Hilarp hörsal, Retzius väg 8, Solna, 13:00 (English)
Knut and Alice Wallenberg FoundationSwedish Research Council

QC 20120529

Available from: 2012-05-29 Created: 2012-05-28 Last updated: 2013-09-24Bibliographically approved

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