Origins and genetic legacy of prehistoric dogs
Dog domestication was multifaceted
Dogs were the first domesticated animal, likely originating from human-associated wolves, but their origin remains unclear. Bergstrom et al. sequenced 27 ancient dog genomes from multiple locations near to and corresponding in time to comparable human ancient DNA sites (see the Perspective by Pavlidis and Somel). By analyzing these genomes, along with other ancient and modern dog genomes, the authors found that dogs likely arose once from a now-extinct wolf population. They also found that at least five different dog populations ∼10,000 years before the present show replacement in Europe at later dates. Furthermore, some dog population genetics are similar to those of humans, whereas others differ, inferring a complex ancestral history for humanity's best friend.
Dogs were the first domestic animal, but little is known about their population history and to what extent it was linked to humans. We sequenced 27 ancient dog genomes and found that all dogs share a common ancestry distinct from present-day wolves, with limited gene flow from wolves since domestication but substantial dog-to-wolf gene flow. By 11,000 years ago, at least five major ancestry lineages had diversified, demonstrating a deep genetic history of dogs during the Paleolithic.
Coanalysis with human genomes reveals aspects of dog population history that mirror humans, including Levant-related ancestry in Africa and early agricultural Europe. Other aspects differ, including the impacts of steppe pastoralist expansions in West and East Eurasia and a near-complete turnover of Neolithic European dog ancestry.