Here’s an abstract from SMBE 2012:
Inferences on dog domestication – genetic analysis of the most ancient dogs utilizing DNA capture arrays
Olaf Thalmann 1,2 , Daniel Greenfield 2 , Matthias Meyer 3 , Susanna Sawyer 3 , Pin Cui 3 , Mietje Germonpre 4 , Mikhail V. Sablin 5 , Francesc Lopez-Giraldez 9 , Daniel LePont 1 , Brian Worthington 10 , Jeff P. Blick 6 , Jeniffer A. Leonard 7 , Richard E. Green 8 , Robert K. Wayne 2
1 University of Turku, Turku, Finland, 2 University of California, Los Angeles, USA, 3 Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany, 4 Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Brussels, Belgium, 5 Zoological Institute RAS, Saint-Petersburg, Russia, 6 Georgia College & State University, Milledgeville, USA, 7 Estacion Biologica de Donana- CSIC, Seville, Spain, 8 University of California, Santa Cruz, USA, 9 Yale University, New Haven, USA, 10 Southeastern Archaeological Research, Inc., Newberry, USA
The geographical and temporal origin of the dog is controversial. Genetic data suggest a domestication event in Asia or the Middle East about 15,000 – 30,000 years ago, whereas the oldest dog-like fossils are found in Europe dating to over 30 thousand years ago. We genetically analyzed the remains of 14 prehistoric wolves and dogs including some of the oldest dog remains described from the New and Old World. Utilizing array based DNA capture techniques coupled with Illumina double indexed sequencing, we targeted a total of ~750,000 nucleotides in each of the ancient canids and additional 20 contemporary wolves from North America and Eurasia. The sequence information comprised the complete mitochondrial genome, 3,000 SNPs previously identified as highly informative for differentiating dogs from wolves, exonic sequences from 62 potential domestication genes and ~150,000 nucleotides of non-coding regions spread throughout the genome. Initial analyses reveal that we have successfully captured and sequenced the complete mitochondrial genome with high coverage as wells as a substantial number of autosomal fragments from ten prehistoric canids and all contemporary wolves. Phylogenetic analysis combining the complete mitochondrial genomes of the prehistoric canids with those of a large collection of modern dogs and wolves result in a statistically well supported tree. While some haplotypes cluster within modern dogs or wolves, others show a basal placement in the phylogeny. The latter finding might support a previous notion that an aberrant lineage of dog-like canids might have existed throughout the northern hemisphere during the late Pleistocene and became globally extinct during the last 20,000 years. We will test this hypothesis by investigating the autosomal loci and employ sophisticated phylogenetic analyses, demographic modeling and selection scans to better understand the influence of early human society and artificial selection on the canine genome.
These dog-like canids are what Mark Derr calls “dogwolves” in How the Dog Became the Dog.
This is the first really in depth genetic study of ancient wolves and dog-like canids.
And what it’s found is that these dog-like canids do not have mtDNA haplotypes that are exactly like modern dogs or modern wolves.
Mitochondrial DNA isn’t everything, and it is possible that some of these older lineages could have been lost in both wolves and domestic dogs.
So the researchers are going to attempt to do a very sophisticated analysis of the genetic material of these animals.