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New Dog Breed Evolutionary Tree

  1. Apr 26, 2017 #1


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    A new evolutionary tree of dog breeds has been produced based on DNA sequences from over 100 breeds.
    The basenji is closest to the root in this survey. These are interesting dogs that don't bark, but make lots of other noises.

    The tree is circular with the root (oldest part) in the center and more derived groups branching off farther from the middle.
    A tree structure for dog breeds is not (IMHO) the most accurate way to display this information since some breeds were generated by crosses between other breeds (for example Dobermans). A plot better reflecting this kind of relationship would be a network rather than a tree structure. However, the tree probably just reflects the strongest genetic signals.
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  3. Apr 27, 2017 #2


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    Where is the "Pitbull" breed that seems to have become so unpopular with cities and municipalities as being the "biting" dog, and the urge is on to ban their existence.
    I do not see it in the blue section, which is where I think it should be marked.
    Perhaps there is no such thing as a pitbull breed.
  4. Apr 27, 2017 #3


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    I was looking for that too since I have a dog that is some kind of hound-pit bull mix.
    I think pit bulls are close to or the same as a staffordshire bull terrier which is in there at about 4 o'clock.

    Even if that's not it, they did not get DNA from what they figure are all the breeds, only about half of them.
  5. Apr 27, 2017 #4


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  6. Apr 27, 2017 #5
    So the boxer is the farthest from from a wolf?
  7. Apr 27, 2017 #6


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    Depends how you want to measure farthest.

    The Basenji is closest to the wolf (presumably the unlabeled black parts) in that it has the fewest branch points and its branch point is closest to the center of the figure). Its clade branched off first in this view. It also has no other branches, so no other clade was derived from it. It could have changed a lot from a wolf though (does not look like a wolf).

    Other breeds branch further out (more recent events). The boxer is not the most recent branch in that respect.
    Another way to look at it would be the number of splits (dots at branch points) leading to a breed. The boxer has something like 26. Some of the breeds have many little splits with in their colored clades. There may well be some with more than the boxer. I have not done all the counting.
    In another sense, they all have evolved for the same period of time and could all be equally changed from the wolf.
    Dogs that look the most like a wolf (to me) and might therefore be argued are least changed structurally, like German Shepards and Huskies, are pretty far apart on the tree so???

    Interesting trivia: A particular individual Boxer was the first dog sequenced. It was chosen because preliminary studies showed it had the least heterogenetity in it DNA sequence. The two sequences (two sets of chromosomes) it carried were 70% identical (very inbred). This is probably why so many dog breeds have genetic problems. Now DNA information combined with inteligent breeding may be able to get rid of some of their genetic problems.
  8. Apr 27, 2017 #7


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    All dogs share a common ancestor which descended from a common ancestor with wolves. Therefore, all dog breeds are equally close/far from wolves (the question is akin to asking who is more closely related to your cousin, you or your sibling). According the to the diagram, Basenji seem to be one of the first breeds to branch off from other breeds (but see the note below), but this does not imply that they are more related to wolves than other breeds.

    Here is a link to the paper being discussed by the news article in the OP (accessible for free): http://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(17)30456-4
    Here's the cladogram from Fig 1
    Note that branches with a high degree of support from the data are marked with various symbols (shown in the lower right-hand corner). Many of the early branches are not marked by these symbols, indicating that the data could not very accurately resolve some of the early branching events in the phylogeny. The diagram represents a best guess, but it would not be surprising of some of the early branches were drawn incorrectly.
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