Highly read on plosgenetics.org 23 Dec–22 Jan

Dogs became companions for humans long before the advent of agriculture, according to a genome-sequencing study.


A team led by Robert Wayne at the University of California, Los Angeles, and John Novembre now at the University of Chicago, Illinois, analysed the genomes of three wolves (Canis lupus) from regions where dogs are thought to have first been domesticated. The authors also studied the genomes of two dog breeds, including Australian dingoes (pictured), and of a golden jackal. The researchers determined that dogs were probably domesticated from now-extinct wolves between 11,000 and 16,000 years ago — before humans began farming around 10,000 years ago.

The findings contradict a previous genome study, which argued that dog domestication was associated with farming.

PLOS Genetics 10, e1004016 (2014)