"It is possible that the first dog
dates back 60,000,
or perhaps more than 100,000 years...."
For the research, Wayne and his colleagues studied DNA sequences
from 140 dogs representing 67 breeds -- including golden retrievers, German shepherds,
collies, St. Bernards, poodles, bulldogs, Irish setters, rottweilers, English sheepdogs,
fox terriers and chow chows. They also analyzed 162 wolves from the United States, Canada,
Mexico, Russia, China, India, Italy, Portugal, Spain, France, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Israel
and other countries, as well as jackals and coyotes.
The scientists analyzed DNA sequences from the control region of the
mitochondrial genome -- a region with a high mutation rate. They were surprised by the
great diversity of DNA sequences they found within dogs.
"We expected to find DNA sequences in dogs that were closely
related to those in wolves, perhaps even indistinguishable from those in wolves,"
Wayne said. "We expected to find a few different sequences in dogs; instead, we found
"We initially suspected the amount of genetic
diversity in the marker we analyzed would be very low because the only way that diversity
accumulates is through DNA mutations over time, and 14,000 years is not enough time for
many mutations to appear.
"We have found that the origin of dogs is much older than
previously believed because the genetic diversity within dogs is much greater than one
would find if their origin were as recent as 14,000 years ago," Wayne added.
"Given the amount of genetic diversity that we found, we can calculate how long it
should have taken to achieve this diversity if mutations alone were driving the process.
Our calculations suggest the first domestic dog might be as old as 100,000 years or
While some scientists thought that dogs evolved from jackals or
coyotes, Wayne and his colleagues found no evidence to support that view.
UCLA News release: Dogs
May Date Back 100,000 Years to Hunter-Gatherer Societies, UCLA Scientists, Colleagues Find
Date: June 10, 1997 | Contact: Stuart Wolpert, UCLA
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org |
Science article: http://www.idir.net/~wolf2dog/wayne1.htm
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