November 24, 2011
Study Shows Dogs Originated in East Asia
Researchers at KTH Royal Institute of Technology have found genetic proof that dogs originated from wolves in East Asia south of the Yangtze river, countering an earlier study that indicated dogs were domesticated in the Middle East.
According to Dr. Peter Savolainen, KTH researcher in evolutionary genetics, “Our analysis of Y-Chromosonal DNA now confirms that wolves were first domesticated in Asia south of Yangtze River – we call it the ASY region – in southern China or Southeast Asia.”
Peter Savolainen along with PhD student Mattias Oskarsson and Chinese colleagues analyzed DNA from male dogs around the world, which was published in the journal Heredity. They found half of the gene pool worldwide was shared everywhere in the world and only the ASY region shared the entire range of genetic diversity.
Savolainen says, “Our results confirm that Asia south of the Yangtze was the most important – and probably the only – region for wolf domestication, and that a large number of wolves were domesticated.”
In the genetic study, the researchers looked at the Y chromosome which supported evidence from a previous study that looked at mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down from the mother in most species. Savolainen says, “Taken together, the two studies provide very strong evidence that dogs originate in the ASY region.”
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