Wild dogs known as dingoes live in Australia now, but biologists have long debated where these canines first arose. A new genetic study of dingoes supports the idea that they originated in Southeast Asia.
In their investigation, Peter Savolainen of the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and his colleagues analyzed comparable sections of DNA from 211 dingoes as well as from domestic dogs and ancient bones found at archaeological sites in Polynesia. The researchers also consulted data from an earlier study of DNA in more than 600 dogs and several dozen wolves (SN: 11/23/02, p. 324: Three Dog Eves: Canine diaspora from East Asia to Americas).
The DNA sequences from about half of the dingoes were identical, and the rest had only slight variations from that norm, the researchers report in the Aug. 17 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The most common form of the DNA among the dingoes matched one in domestic dogs from Ea