Study Finds Modern Dog Breeds Genetically Disconnected from Ancient Ancestors

Cross-breeding of dogs over thousands of years has made it extremely difficult to trace the ancient genetic roots of today’s pets, according to a new study led by Durham University.

An international team of scientists analysed data of the genetic make-up of modern-day dogs, alongside an assessment of the global of dog remains, and found that modern breeds genetically have little in common with their ancient ancestors.

Dogs were the first domesticated animals and the researchers say their findings will ultimately lead to greater understanding of dogs’ origins and the development of early .

Although many modern breeds look like those depicted in or in Egyptian pyramids, cross-breeding across thousands of years has meant that it is not accurate to label any modern breeds as “ancient”, the researchers said.

Breeds such as the Akita, Afghan Hound and Chinese Shar-Pei, which have been classed as “ancient”, are no closer to the first than other breeds due to the effects of lots of cross-breeding, the study found.

Other effects on the of domestic dogs include patterns of human movement and the impact on dog population sizes caused by major events, such as the two World Wars, the researchers added.

The findings are published today (Monday May 21) in the scientific journal USA (PNAS). The Durham-led research team was made up of scientists from a number of universities including Uppsala University, Sweden, and the Broad Institute, in the USA.

In total the researchers analysed genetic data from 1,375 dogs representing 35 breeds. They also looked at data showing of wolves, with recent genetic studies suggesting that dogs are exclusively descended from the .

 

Source: https://phys.org/news/2012-05-modern-dog-genetically-disconnected-ancient.html

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