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Volume 607 Issue 7918, 14 July 2022

Canine connection

Although the domestic dog can trace its origins to the grey wolf (Canis lupus), exactly when, where and how domestication happened has remained a source of debate. In this week’s issue, Anders Bergström, Pontus Skoglund and their colleagues, take a step towards resolving this question. The researchers analysed the genomes of 72 ancient wolves from across Europe, Siberia and North America, and spanning the past 100,000 years. They found that dogs are most closely related to ancient wolves from eastern Eurasia but that dogs in the Near East and Africa derive up to half their ancestry from a distinct population related to modern southwest Eurasian wolves. Although none of the genomes analysed was a direct match for either dog ancestry, the researchers say that it has narrowed down where next to look for the ancestors of domestic dogs.

Cover image: Mark Carwardine/Nature Picture Library

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