AFRICAN VILLAGE DOGS AND GENE DIVERSITY. CORNELL-BASED VILLAGE DOG GENETIC DIVERSITY PROJECT.
Research from Cornell has shown that African village dogs are not a mixture of modern breeds but have directly descended from an ancestral pool of indigenous dogs.
Author Adam Boyko, a research associate in the lab of Carlos Bustamante says that “ the genes of modern breeds all cluster together in one little group, but the African village dogs show a much greater diversity genetically.”
Three hundred eighteen village dogs from Egypt, Uganda and Namibia were used in this project.
Breed dogs from Africa,Puerto Rico and mixed dogs from the US were also looked at.Weight,age,coat color and body measurements were collected and blood samples sent for analysis to the Canine DNA Bank at the Baker Institute for Animal Health,which is part of Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
With a computer programme,they tracked genetic diversity in the samples and found that the African village dogs are a mosaic of indigenous dogs descended from early migrants to Africa and non-native mixed breed dogs.Breeds such as the Pharoah hounds and Rhodesian ridgebacks were clustered with the non-native breeds, suggesting that they originated from outside Africa.
A previous study of genetics and village dogs has confirmed that domesticated dogs likely originated from Eurasian wolves some 15,000 to 40,000 years ago and that the East Asian village dogs had more genetic diversity than any others used in genetic diversity testing.However, the African village dogs used in the Cornell testing indicate interestingly enough that African village dogs have similar genetic diversity .This raises doubt then as to initial claims that dogs were first domesticated in East Asia.
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