The evolutionary history of dogs in the Americas. Academic Article uri icon


  • Dogs were present in the Americas before the arrival of European colonists, but the origin and fate of these precontact dogs are largely unknown. We sequenced 71 mitochondrial and 7 nuclear genomes from ancient North American and Siberian dogs from time frames spanning ~9000 years. Our analysis indicates that American dogs were not derived from North American wolves. Instead, American dogs form a monophyletic lineage that likely originated in Siberia and dispersed into the Americas alongside people. After the arrival of Europeans, native American dogs almost completely disappeared, leaving a minimal genetic legacy in modern dog populations. The closest detectable extant lineage to precontact American dogs is the canine transmissible venereal tumor, a contagious cancer clone derived from an individual dog that lived up to 8000 years ago.

published proceedings

  • Science

altmetric score

  • 1266.464

author list (cited authors)

  • N Leathlobhair, M., Perri, A. R., Irving-Pease, E. K., Witt, K. E., Linderholm, A., Haile, J., ... Frantz, L.

citation count

  • 98

complete list of authors

  • Ní Leathlobhair, Máire||Perri, Angela R||Irving-Pease, Evan K||Witt, Kelsey E||Linderholm, Anna||Haile, James||Lebrasseur, Ophelie||Ameen, Carly||Blick, Jeffrey||Boyko, Adam R||Brace, Selina||Cortes, Yahaira Nunes||Crockford, Susan J||Devault, Alison||Dimopoulos, Evangelos A||Eldridge, Morley||Enk, Jacob||Gopalakrishnan, Shyam||Gori, Kevin||Grimes, Vaughan||Guiry, Eric||Hansen, Anders J||Hulme-Beaman, Ardern||Johnson, John||Kitchen, Andrew||Kasparov, Aleksei K||Kwon, Young-Mi||Nikolskiy, Pavel A||Lope, Carlos Peraza||Manin, Aurélie||Martin, Terrance||Meyer, Michael||Myers, Kelsey Noack||Omura, Mark||Rouillard, Jean-Marie||Pavlova, Elena Y||Sciulli, Paul||Sinding, Mikkel-Holger S||Strakova, Andrea||Ivanova, Varvara V||Widga, Christopher||Willerslev, Eske||Pitulko, Vladimir V||Barnes, Ian||Gilbert, M Thomas P||Dobney, Keith M||Malhi, Ripan S||Murchison, Elizabeth P||Larson, Greger||Frantz, Laurent AF

publication date

  • July 2018