Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Small dogs originated in the Middle East, genetic study finds

Date:
March 13, 2010
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
A genetic study has found that small domestic dogs probably originated in the Middle East more than 12,000 years ago. Researchers have traced the evolutionary history of the IGF1 gene, finding that the version of the gene that is a major determinant of small size probably originated as a result of the domestication of the Middle Eastern gray wolf.

Yorkshire terrier.
Credit: iStockphoto/Lenka Dankova

A genetic study has found that small domestic dogs probably originated in the Middle East more than 12,000 years ago. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Biology traced the evolutionary history of the IGF1 gene, finding that the version of the gene that is a major determinant of small size probably originated as a result of the domestication of the Middle Eastern gray wolf.

Melissa Gray and Robert Wayne, from the University of California, Los Angeles, led a team of researchers who surveyed a large sample of gray wolf populations. She said, "The mutation for small body size post-dates the domestication of dogs. However, because all small dogs possess this variant of IGF1, it probably arose early in their history. Our results show that the version of the IGF1 gene found in small dogs is closely related to that found in Middle Eastern wolves and is consistent with an ancient origin in this region of small domestic dogs."

Previous archeological work in the Middle East has unearthed the remains of small domestic dogs dating to 12,000 years ago. Sites in Belgium, Germany and Western Russia contain older remains (13,000-31,000 years ago), but these are of larger dogs. These findings support the hypothesis put forward by Gray and colleagues that small body size evolved in the Middle East.

Reduction in body size is a common feature of domestication and has been seen in other domesticated animals including cattle, pigs and goats. According to Gray, "Small size could have been more desirable in more densely packed agricultural societies, in which dogs may have lived partly indoors or in confined outdoor spaces."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Melissa M. Gray, Nathan B. Sutter, Elaine A. Ostrander and Robert K. Wayne. The IGF1 small dog haplotype is derived from Middle Eastern grey wolves. BMC Biology, 2010; 8 (1): 16 DOI: 10.1186/1741-7007-8-16

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Small dogs originated in the Middle East, genetic study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100223191924.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2010, March 13). Small dogs originated in the Middle East, genetic study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100223191924.htm
BioMed Central. "Small dogs originated in the Middle East, genetic study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100223191924.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — The best canine surfers gathered for Huntington Beach's annual dog surfing competition, "Surf City, Surf Dog." Duration: 01:15 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins