Research area: genomics

Ancient European dog genomes reveal continuity since the early Neolithic

Created on 3rd July 2017

Laura Botigue; Shiya Song; Amelie Scheu; Shyamalika Gopalan; Amanda Pendleton; Matthew Oetjens; Angela Taravella; Timo Seregély; Andrea Zeeb-Lanz; Rose-Marie Arbogast; Dean Bobo; Kevin Daly; Martina Unterländer; Joachim Burger; Jeffrey Kidd; Krishna R Veeramah;

Europe has played a major role in dog evolution, harbouring the oldest uncontested Paleolithic remains and having been the centre of modern dog breed creation. We sequenced the whole genomes of an Early and End Neolithic dog from Germany, including a sample associated with one of Europe's earliest farming communities. Both dogs demonstrate continuity with each other and predominantly share ancestry with modern European dogs, contradicting a previously suggested Late Neolithic population replacement. Furthermore, we find no genetic evidence to support the recent hypothesis proposing dual origins of dog domestication. By calibrating the mutation rate using our oldest dog, we narrow the timing of dog domestication to 20,000-40,000 years ago. Interestingly, we do not observe the extreme copy number expansion of the AMY2B gene that is characteristic of modern dogs and has previously been proposed as an adaptation to a starch-rich diet driven by the widespread adoption of agriculture in the Neolithic.

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