Latest Issue of Science News


Who reined the dogs in

New genetic data reveals Fido likely originated in the Middle East

The first Fido probably wagged its tail in the Middle East.

The largest-ever genetic family tree of dogs and wolves traces dogs’ domestic origin to the region, an international group of researchers reports online March 17 in Nature. The finding fits with archaeological evidence that dogs were domesticated in the Middle East or Eastern Europe and contradicts earlier genetic data suggesting that man’s best friend originated in China.

That earlier work found more genetic diversity in East Asian dog breeds, indicating that the breeds are older and probably represent the earliest domesticated dogs. Although the statistics used in the new analysis aren’t perfect, the study probably gets closer to the truth in unearthing dogs’ origins, some researchers say.  

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.