Now-extinct wolf may be ancestor of modern-day dogs | Science News

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Now-extinct wolf may be ancestor of modern-day dogs

No strong signs of canine ancestry among living grey wolves

1:54pm, June 10, 2013

Dogs evolved from a wolf lineage that has since gone extinct, a study of canine DNA suggests.

Researchers have long assumed that dogs branched off from a still-living wolf species. Geneticists have combed the world looking for wolf populations that most closely resemble dogs genetically, and concluded that dogs originated in the Middle East or Southeast Asia. But fossils suggest Europe as the site of dog domestication.

Posted June 4 at, the new study finds that interbreeding between dogs and wolves after domestication has made wolves in certain locations seem more closely related to dogs than they actually are.

Adam Freedman of Harvard University and an international group of collaborators compared DNA from three breeds of dogs (a boxer, a Basenji and an Australian dingo) to that of three gray wolves (Canis lupus) from Croatia, China and Israel — three locations proposed as centers of dog domestication. All of the wolves were equally

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