Paleo-population genomics as a means to understand the history of dog domestication


Dogs were unquestionably the first domestic animal and the only animal domesticated within a hunter-gatherer context prior to the advent of agriculture. Understanding the precise temporal and geographic origins of domestic dogs has proven difficult for several reasons including: the widespread distribution of wolves and the lack of a easily interpretable phylogeographic signatures amongst modern dog populations. More recently, studies making use of high-coverage genomes of dogs and wolves have demonstrated that the wolf population from which all dogs descend is likely extinct, only exacerbating the difficulty in identifying the wolves which gave rise to dogs. In addition, the history of both domestic plants and animals has incorporate significant degrees of admixture between domestic animals and wild populations that were never involved in the original domestication process. Here, I present an empirical demonstration of long-term admixture and how that limits our ability to understand the origins of dogs. In addition, I will present case studies of how we can overcome these limitations by generating nuclear sequences from global samples of ancient dogs and wolves, and how the results may provide answers to where, when and how many times dogs were domesticated.

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Paleo-population genomics as a means to understand the history of dog domestication. Greger Larson, Keith Dobney, Anna Linderholm, Allowen Evin, Thomas Cucchi. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395595)