Two distinct ancient wolf populations contributed DNA to modern dogs, according to a study by an international team of geneticists and archaeologists.
According to the Francis Crick Institute in London, dogs are known to be descended from grey wolves, and domestication occurred around 15,000 years ago during the Ice Age.
What remains unknown is where it happened, and whether it happened in one place or multiple places, the researchers said.
Previous studies using the archaeological record and comparing the DNA of dogs and modern wolves have found no answer, Crick researchers wrote in their new findings released Wednesday.
Researchers at the institute said they mapped the genetic history of gray wolves over the past 100,000 years by analyzing 72 ancient genomes from Europe, Siberia and North America.
The Crick said in a press release: "In trying to fit the dog into this image, we found that the dog came from at least two different wolf packs
One eastern source that contributes to all dogs, and the other a separate one. , more Western sources too." contributed to some dogs. "
The DNA came from previously unearthed remains of ancient wolves, and archaeologists from 38 institutions in 16 countries contributed to the research, according to the institute.
The remains include "a complete, well-preserved Siberian wolf head that lived 32,000 years ago," the Crick study said. Nine different labs then collaborated to generate DNA sequences from wolves.
By analyzing the genome, scientists found that early and modern dogs were more genetically similar to ancient wolves in Asia than to European wolves.
Suggesting that domestication occurred somewhere in the East. The researchers also said they found two separate ancient wolf populations that provided the dogs with DNA.
Early dogs from northeastern Europe, Siberia and the Americas appear to have a single, common origin from the East, the researchers wrote in their study
But early dogs from the Middle East, Africa, and southern Europe appear to have ancestors from another source, in addition to eastern sources, related to wolves in the Middle East.