Who reined the dogs in | Science News

Real Science. Real News.

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


Who reined the dogs in

New genetic data reveals Fido likely originated in the Middle East

2:36pm, March 17, 2010

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.  

“Nothing ever seals the deal, but this is pretty strong evidence for dog domestication in the Near East cultural region,” says Carlos Driscoll, a geneticist at

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content