Modern Dogs Hail From Middle East
DNA shows most breeds descended from region's gray wolf
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2010 3:53 PM CDT
In this 2006 photo, a couple of wirehaired dachshunds are presented for competition by their handlers during the 130th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York's Madison Square Garden.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

(Newser) – Scientists have discovered the origin of the domesticated dog—somewhere in the Middle East. Most dogs in the world are descended from the Middle Eastern gray wolf, a team of geneticists found. The researchers analyzed the dog genome, using 900 animals from 85 breeds, and then compared it to 200 wild gray wolves from around the world. Certain genetic markers unique to the Middle Eastern wolf population were found in most of the dogs.

"Many wolf populations may have contributed to the genomic diversity of dogs, but the dominant signal comes from the Middle East," Robert Wayne, the lead researcher, tells NPR. The findings are consistent with archaeological findings in Israel of 12,000 year-old dog skeletons buried with their masters.