Man’s best friend was likely born in the Middle East, according to a paper published this week in Nature. A genetic analysis of 85 dog breeds revealed they have more in common with wolves from countries like Israel, Saudi Arabia and Iran then in any other part of the world.
An international team of scientists lead by the University of California, Los Angeles compared genetic data from more than 900 dogs and 200 wolves to create a “family tree” that shows the connections between the various breeds. Previous research suggested that dogs originated in East Asia, but that was based only on genetic changes in mitochondria, tiny structures found in all animal cells. This new work examines a much larger section of the canine genome, comparing 48,000 different locations across species DNA.