Bloomberg News

Dogs Came From South of China River, Not Middle East, Study Says

November 23, 2011

Nov. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Wolf ancestors of today’s domesticated dogs came from East Asia, according to Swedish researchers, contradicting a study that suggested dogs originated in the Middle East.

Scientists at Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology worked with Chinese colleagues to analyze DNA sequences from 151 male dogs around the world and found that the area south of China’s Yangtze River had the highest range of genetic diversity. The finding was published today in the journal Heredity.

“Our results confirm that Asia south of the Yangtze River was the most important -- and probably the only -- region for wolf domestication,” said Peter Savolainen, an assistant professor in evolutionary genetics at KTH in Stockholm, in a statement.

The finding clashes with the results of an earlier study led by biologists at the University of California, Los Angeles, and published last year in the journal Nature. That research, which suggested dogs originated from the Middle East, didn’t include samples from the East Asian region, according to Savolainen.

“Since other studies have indicated that wolves were domesticated in the Middle East, we wanted to be sure nothing had been missed,” Savolainen said. “We find no signs whatsoever that dogs originated there.”

--Editors: Kristen Hallam, David Risser

To contact the reporter on this story: Makiko Kitamura in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phil Serafino at

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