Hot on the trail: Genetic researchers think they’ve found the link to our earliest best friends.
A research team out of UCLA thinks it may have traced the pedigree of domesticated dogs back to their earliest origins, and the paw prints apparently lead to the general vicinity of the Middle East, instead of the East Asian region they’d previously targeted. —KA
“Science Fair” in USA Today:
In the Nature journal study led by UCLA’s Bridgett vonHoldt, researchers looked at gene segments from 912 dogs, from 85 breeds, and samples of 225 grey wolves, dog’s close cousins who they evolved from in prehistory, from 11 regions. The study was released in electronic format ahead of its print publication.
Earlier studies by the same team had found the most diversity in dog genes among East Asian breeds, leading the researchers to suspect the region was the original home of the domesticated dog. However, the new analysis of more samples from the complete dog genome says, “specific populations of Middle and Near Eastern grey wolves found to be most similar to domestic dogs.”