This Genetic Map Shows The Evolution Of Dog Breeds

Posted: Apr 26 2017, 5:31am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

This Genetic Map Shows the Evolution of Dog Breeds
This diagram representing the genetic analysis of dog breeds reveals how past migrations led to the mixing of multiple breeds. Credit: NIH Dog Genome Project
  • Dog Family Tree Mapped by Gene Researchers

Researchers have built a canine family tree that traces the evolution of man’s most trusted and loyal sidekick through the transition from prehistory to history.

Upon the migration of human beings, their favorite animal companion, Canis familiaris went along with them. The tracing of the details concerning this evolution of the dog is a difficult process.

The researchers have to arrange the clues in a piecemeal manner. Hundreds of dog breeds and their genomes have to be sifted through before anything can be said with certainty.

In a recent study, scientists analyzed 161 modern breeds. This constitutes the largest evolutionary tree assembled to this day and time. It shows how dogs traveled along with human beings across the Bering Strait.

The oldest dog breeds were basically bred to fulfill certain roles in society. There were herding dogs and then there were pointers. Also there were mixed breeds that had the features and functions of both to a lesser or greater degree.

The types of these canines go way back in time when compared to superficial breeds. This is something which ought to give us pause for thought.

Most of the breeds of dogs in the United States trace back their lineage to Europe. A couple of breeds from Central and South America are descended from New World Dogs though.

These include the Peruvian Hairless Dog and the Xoloitzcuintle. The New World Dog migrated across the Bering Strait with the earliest inhabitants of North America.

These happened to be the ancestors of the Native Indians. Various groups of American canines split off from the European breeds. The signs of the New World Dog are apparent in these dogs. The researchers will be exploring this connection in greater detail in the future.

There is more here than meets the eye. Many types of gun dogs such as the Golden Retriever and Irish Setter can be traced back to Victorian England. There are breeds from the Middle East such as the Saluki.

From Asia come such breeds as the Chow Chow and Akita. The explosion of dog breeds took place in Europe and America though. Herding breeds were a common feature of European stock.

Dogs were thus used as a part of the work that the people accomplished on a daily basis. Different herding dogs act in different ways. The sequencing of the genomes of the dog family tree has been laborious work.

Over half the dog breeds have not been sequenced yet. A thorough study of dog genomes may even lend us greater savvy regarding the diseases these canines suffer from. These include: diabetes, epilepsy, kidney ailments and cancer.

This study appear in the journal Cell Reports.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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