Dogs likely originated in the Middle East, not Asia or Europe!
Dogs likely originated in the Middle East, not Asia or Europe, according to a new genetic analysis by an international team of scientists led by UCLA biologists.
The research appears March 17 in the advance online edition of the journal Nature. “Dogs seem to share more genetic similarity with Middle Eastern gray wolves than with any other wolf population worldwide,” said Robert Wayne, UCLA professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and senior author of the Nature paper. “Genome-wide analysis now directly suggests a Middle East origin for modern dogs. We have found that a dominant proportion of modern dogs’ ancestry derives from Middle Eastern wolves, and this finding is consistent with the hypothesis that dogs originated in the Middle East.
“This is the same area where domestic cats and many of our livestock originated and where agriculture first developed,” Wayne noted.
Previous genetic research suggested an East Asian origin for dogs, “which was unexpected,” Wayne said, “because there was never a hint in the archaeological record that dogs evolved there.” We were able to study a broader sampling of wolves globally than has ever been done before, including Middle Eastern wolves, “said the paper’s lead author, Bridgett vonHoldt”, a UCLA graduate student of ecology and evolutionary biology in Wayne’s laboratory who studies the genetics of dog domestication. In our analysis of the entire genome, we found that dogs share more unique markers with Middle Eastern wolves than with East Asian wolves. We used a genome wide approach, which avoids the bias of single genome region.