Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Arctic-adapted dogs emerged at the Pleistocene-Holocene transition

New publication by Mikkel-Holger S. Sinding, Shyam Gopalakrishnan, Jazmín Ramos-Madrigal et al.

2020.09.02 | Peter Schmidt Mikkelsen

Abstract:

Although sled dogs are one of the most specialized groups of dogs, their origin and evolution has received much less attention than many other dog groups. We applied a genomic approach to investigate their spatiotemporal emergence by sequencing the genomes of 10 modern Greenland sled dogs, an ~9500-year-old Siberian dog associated with archaeological evidence for sled technology, and an ~33,000-year-old Siberian wolf. We found noteworthy genetic similarity between the ancient dog and modern sled dogs. We detected gene flow from Pleistocene Siberian wolves, but not modern American wolves, to present-day sled dogs. The results indicate that the major ancestry of modern sled dogs traces back to Siberia, where sled dog–specific haplotypes of genes that potentially relate to Arctic adaptation were established by 9500 years ago.

https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aaz8599

Arctic Research Centre