December 21, 2016

Genome-wide SNP and haplotype analyses reveal a rich history underlying dog domestication

       The question is what are the genetic origins or similarities of different dog breeds and wolves. It’s interesting because dogs are much more genetically diverse than most people think. The history comes from early species of wolves and genetic diversification through natural causes or human efforts.The hypothesis is that more modern dog breeds share haplotypes unique to grey wolves from east Asia.A possible prediction would be that the hypothesis is wrong and genetic evidence is found that points to a different geographical origin.

      48,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms from 912 dogs from 85 dog breed and 225 grey wolves from 11 different global populations were analyzed to look for similarities or genetic patterns in their individual SNPs or haplotypes. The study found significant Middle eastern and European ancestry among dog breeds and east Asian ancestry in certain east Asian breeds. This finding is in contrast to conclusions from Mitochondrial DNA sequence data that suggests east Asian ancestry.  A limitation to their analysis is that only 85 dog breeds were studied, and that there is little existing research on origins and diversity of dog breeds. I would have liked them to better explain what SNP windows mean for genetic diversity and how these differences are expressed. 

Reviewed by Jonathan Guzman