December 28, 2011
Southeast Asian origin of dogs (again)
Phylogenetic Distinctiveness of Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian Village Dog Y Chromosomes Illuminates Dog Origins
Sarah K. Brown et al.
Modern genetic samples are commonly used to trace dog origins, which entails untested assumptions that village dogs reflect indigenous ancestry or that breed origins can be reliably traced to particular regions. We used high-resolution Y chromosome markers (SNP and STR) and mitochondrial DNA to analyze 495 village dogs/dingoes from the Middle East and Southeast Asia, along with 138 dogs from >35 modern breeds to 1) assess genetic divergence between Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian village dogs and their phylogenetic affinities to Australian dingoes and gray wolves (Canis lupus) and 2) compare the genetic affinities of modern breeds to regional indigenous village dog populations. The Y chromosome markers indicated that village dogs in the two regions corresponded to reciprocally monophyletic clades, reflecting several to many thousand years divergence, predating the Neolithic ages, and indicating long-indigenous roots to those regions. As expected, breeds of the Middle East and East Asia clustered within the respective regional village dog clade. Australian dingoes also clustered in the Southeast Asian clade. However, the European and American breeds clustered almost entirely within the Southeast Asian clade, even sharing many haplotypes, suggesting a substantial and recent influence of East Asian dogs in the creation of European breeds. Comparison to 818 published breed dog Y STR haplotypes confirmed this conclusion and indicated that some African breeds reflect another distinct patrilineal origin. The lower-resolution mtDNA marker consistently supported Y-chromosome results. Both marker types confirmed previous findings of higher genetic diversity in dogs from Southeast Asia than the Middle East. Our findings demonstrate the importance of village dogs as windows into the past and provide a reference against which ancient DNA can be used to further elucidate origins and spread of the domestic dog.