News & AnalysisANCIENT DNA

Old Dogs Teach a New Lesson About Canine Origins

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Science  15 Nov 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6160, pp. 785-786
DOI: 10.1126/science.342.6160.785

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That dogs evolved from gray wolves is well accepted but there's much debate about where and when man's best friend was first domesticated. Previous genetic studies suggested a Middle Eastern or East Asian origin, but controversial new research that makes use of complete mitochondrial genomes of ancient canids as well as modern ones indicates that the first dogs come from Europe. The work finds that today's pooches are more closely related to ancient canids than to modern wolves, indicating that the dog's wolf ancestor no longer exists. Others take issue with the results because none of the ancient samples come from the other putative sites of origin.

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