Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Dogs arrived from Siberia, left cancerous tumour behind

Study: Ancient North American dogs were nearly wiped out after arrival of European breeds Original North American dog population wiped out in recent history
Celia Hoffman | 09 July, 2018, 15:24

Oddly enough, scientists found that the closest surviving trace of pre-contact dogs' DNA is found in a sexually transmitted canine cancer.

For the study, the researchers gathered genetic information from dog remains belonging from the Americas and discovered that the ancient dogs arrived to the continent along with people who settled across North, South and Central America.

All of these tumours are clones - genetically highly similar to one another but genetically distinct from their hound hosts.

Strangely, the most direct genetic link between ancient American dogs and modern ones is found in a cancerous canine tumor derived from a dog that lived up to 8,000 years ago, the study states. Since then the tumours have persisted through the millennia by transmission of cancer cells between dogs during mating. Remarkably, the research revealed that the dog that first spawned CTVT was closely related to American pre-contact dogs.

"It's a nice data set, but ancient DNA is a growing field".

The team did find one hint of the ancient dogs' genomes in modern breeds, however. This suggested that the answer to our question probably lay buried somewhere in the Arctic tundra.

But closer study of the ancient dog genomes shows that they nearly completely disappeared following the arrival of European settlers, leaving little or no trace in more modern American dogs.

"But the cancer genome we found was a real surprise", Linderholm said.

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A reconstruction of what the founder dog may have looked like.

When they compared it to the genetic makeup of modern pooches, they confirmed what other scientists have long suggested: The first dogs of North America, similar to Arctic dogs like Siberian huskies or Alaskan malamutes, were brought to the continent when people crossed the land bridge that formed between Russian Federation and Canada. They compared the genomic signatures from 71 mitochondrial and seven nuclear genomes of ancient North American and Siberian dogs. But very few traces of the domesticated dog native to North America exists. This is further evidence of the strong bond between humans and dogs. And they also have no common ties with the North American wolf, suggesting they weren't tamed from the local canine population the proto-Americans encountered.

The location of where the Bering Land Bridge once connected modern-day Russian Federation and Alaska.

Despite their annihilation, the displaced exacted what Perri said she and her colleagues darkly joke is "the revenge of these native American dogs". The DNA was collected from the remains of ancient North American and Siberian dogs.

Many popular dog breeds today like pugs, chihuahuas, and labradors can be traced back Eurasian breeds, but the dogs that were native to the Americas were completely wiped out with the arrival of Europeans in the 15th century. They also believed that the Europeans might have killed the pre-contact dogs because they prefer the breed that they brought from their homelands.

A xoloitzcuintli, or Mexican hairless has been called by some the ancient Aztec dog of the gods.

It appears that native dog populations could have been wiped out through a number of causes, including disease, persecution and Europeans' desire to raise their own breeds. And, although CTVT could have arisen on the Asian side of the Bering Bridge, perhaps the emergence of transmissible cancer itself even played a role.

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