Original North American Dogs Descended From Siberian Populations

  • Original North American Dogs Descended From Siberian Populations

Original North American Dogs Descended From Siberian Populations

At this time, the landmasses now known as Russian Federation and North America were not separated by water, but connected by a continuous expanse of land, the Bering Land Bridge. Nuclear DNAs are the ones inherited from both parents while mitochondrial DNAs are the ones being passed down only from mothers to the offspring.

"It is known how Indigenous peoples of the Americas suffered from the genocidal practices of European colonists after contact", author Ripan Malhi, an anthropology professor at the University of IL, explains.

The oldest dog remains in the Americas date to about 9,000 years ago, many thousands of years after people began migrating over a land bridge connecting present-day Siberia and Alaska. Although there is intriguing evidence that during this time these dogs interbred with wild canids endemic in North America, like coyotes and grey wolves. Scientists found that the ancient dogs came first from Siberia, and that modern American breeds share few common genetic connections. Unfortunately, this, coupled with other reasons including the fact that America's new settlers must have killed native dog populations, as well as their disinterest in breeding the original American dog populations, meant that the original American dogs slowly vanished completely from the Americas. As it turned out, the ancestors of the dogs who became the ancestors of the Pets of the Indians, are considered to be individuals who lived on Earth around 16 thousand years ago. A third introduction occurred in the 19th century, when Siberian huskies were imported as sled dogs during the Alaskan gold rush.

Once the domesticated Siberian dogs arrived in North America, they co-existed with the First Peoples for nearly 9,000 years before Europeans arrived.

It appears that native dog populations could have been wiped out through a number of causes, including disease, persecution and Europeans' desire to raise their own breeds.

Looking closely at the analysis of the genomes, the researchers discovered that the ancient dogs died out when Europeans colonized the Americas.

"If there were millions and millions of dogs all over this continent, and a small number of European dogs came in, there would have been plenty of time for them to do what dogs do, which is mate with each other and leave their DNA behind", Karlsson said.

Intriguingly, the study revealed a close link between the genomes of the pre-contact dogs, as the researchers refer to them, and those derived from canine transmissible venereal tumours (CTVT).

The study included seven nuclear and 71 mitochondrial genomes from ancient North American and Siberian dogs over 9,000 years.

"The picture is not as clear as they want it to be", Peter Savolainen, an associate professor in Evolutionary Genetics at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, told Gizmodo.

Dog DNA taken from other ancient sites in the Americas not included in the study has also been found to have more similarities with the chihuahua and other South American breeds than this study did.

The team suspected that epidemics and hunting might contribute to the purge of these pre-contact dogs.

The research was led by the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Queen Mary University of London and Durham University.

"This study demonstrates that the history of humans is mirrored in our domestic animals".