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Genetic Structure of the Purebred Domestic Dog

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Genetic Structure of the Purebred Domestic Dog by Heidi Parker et al., Science journal, Vol. 304, 5/21/04.
We used molecular markers to study genetic relationships in a diverse collection of 85 domestic dog breeds. Differences among breeds accounted for ~30% of genetic variation. Microsatellite genotypes were used to correctly assign 99% of individual dogs to breeds. Phylogenetic analysis separated several breeds with ancient origins from the remaining breeds with modern European origins. We identified four genetic clusters, which predominantly contained breeds with similar geographic origin, morphology, or role in human activities. These results provide a genetic classification of dog breeds and will aid studies of the genetics of phenotypic breed differences.
[ May 25, 2004, 02:19 PM: Message edited by: Betsy Iole ]
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And now for a humorous take on this news...

DNA Study Finds Chihuahuas Aren't Dogs
Among other findings, the analysis determined that the Chihuahua is actually a type of large rodent, selectively bred for centuries to resemble a canine.

\"This is clearly going to raise some eyebrows in the Chihuahua world,\" said Peggy Wilson, president of the Chihuahua Club of America. \"It goes against our belief system. People are pretty passionate about their dogs. There is going to be disbelief.\"

Using 96 distinct patterns in the genes called \"microsatellites,\" the researchers compared dogs within breeds, and breeds with one another. In the May 21 issue of the journal Science, the team concluded that almost every breed was surprisingly distinct genetically. They were able to identify each dog's breed by its genes with 99 percent accuracy. They also found that breeds could be clearly grouped into four distinct clusters based on striking genetic similarities: ancient dogs, hunters, herders, and guard dogs.

\"Once we had these groups pretty well mapped out, the canine mimics were easy to pick out,\" added Kruglyak. \"And actually, it was kind of intuitive in hindsight.\"

The study found that several diminutive breeds had been independently created around the world from a variety of other animals, including the Lhasa apso (Tibetan snow rabbit), Pekingese (Chinese water rat), Shih Tzu (stoat), and Yorkshire Terrier (pigeon).
\"Most of these do contain some actual dog genes,\" admitted Kruglyak, \"but the percentage is no higher than ten percent in each case.\"
[ May 27, 2004, 09:33 PM: Message edited by: Betsy Iole ]
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