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Are there any dog breeds that can't mate with wolves any more?

  1. Dec 30, 2013 #1
    Title says it all. If not, is it possible that in the future we will have a dog who's DNA is so different than their original ancestors, the wolves, that they wouldn't be able to mate with them?

    Also, another related question. What does it take to be reproductively compatible? Does the DNA just have to be similar. The chimp's DNA is something like 1.6% different from humans, but that is too big of a difference to reproduce. Is there a maximum percent difference required in order to be sexually compatible?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 31, 2013 #2


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    I don't know.
    That is possible.

    There is no fixed number for the difference, some differences can have a huge effect and other differences can be irrelevant.
  4. Dec 31, 2013 #3
    Well, I don't see why not, they do belong to the same species and the term species is generally defined as the largest group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. (wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Species) But I am no expert and may be wrong...
  5. Jan 1, 2014 #4
    A lot has to do with chromosome pairing. In the case of chimps they have 24 pairs while humans have 23, and if you look at the sequence data you can see evidence of an end-to-end fusion that joined two of the chimp chromosomes to make one human chromosome.

    I imagine that there may already be dogs that can't breed with wolves, for example chihuahuas. But a chihuahua could mate with a Boston terrier, which could mate with a Staffordshire terrier, which could mate with a Samoyed, which could mate with a wolf. So the species barrier is not always a bright-line distinction.
  6. Jan 1, 2014 #5
    They are the same species Canis lupus ie. same number of chromosomes.
    I don't see why there would be a problem...as long as the chihuahua is the male and the wolf doesn't wolf down her mate. Wolves and poodles have already been successfully crossed.
    http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/newsletters/v5n4/5n4wille.htm#toc4 [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  7. Jan 1, 2014 #6
    I am certainly not an expert in canine biology. In plants, where the species barrier is a bit more fluid, when you do a wide cross you frequently can see spontaneous abortion at different points in the process of seed formation as the incompatibilities in the developmental genes cause the process to arrest. It's easy to detect because when you open the seedpod you see a shriveled seed, which you can then look at under a microscope to see how far along it got. With animals the spontaneous abortions get reabsorbed or sloughed off so much trickier to find. I just came across this which could be a similar phenomenon:

    "These were dogs with family lines, where they routinely produce big litters, and yet when we tried to breed these fertile beagles to fertile setters, we got no pups at all, despite many attempts to do so, and then eventually, we were able to produce one litter with two pups in it. "

    (from http://sciencenetlinks.com/science-news/science-updates/dog-breeds/ )
  8. Jan 3, 2014 #7
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  9. Jan 9, 2014 #8
    There are two major factors to consider here: genetic compatibility and willingness to breed. For example, while a Chihuahua's sperm could probably inseminate a wolf successfully, it's a rendezvous that would probably be unlikely to happen naturally.

    Remember that genetically dogs are all closely related and also very similar to wolves.
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