Dogs originated near Nepal and Mongolia: Researcher

London, Oct 20 (IANS) A DNA study of 549 dogs that represented 38 countries revealed that domesticated dogs first arrived in Asian countries of Nepal and Mongolia, media reported here on Tuesday.

Previous studies suggested that man’s best friend first evolved from wolves in China, the Middle East, Siberia and Europe, at least 15,000 years ago, Daily Mail reported.

The results of research by a team led by Adam Boyko of New York’s Cornell University were released by Washington-based journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” on Monday.

The team analysed DNA from 549 dogs that represented 38 countries in Africa, the US, Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East and islands north and east of Australia.

They said the animals were not house pets, but rather ‘village dogs’ that wandered freely in the streets or fields. The analysis, however, did not tackle the contentious question of when dogs appeared.

“I am not pretending my study alone is enough to rally the community together,” Boyko said.

Meanwhile, some other scientists did not buy the conclusion and questioned the results.

Robert Wayne of the University of California, Los Angeles, who proposed a European origin for dogs in 2013 based on analysis of ancient DNA, questioned Boyko’s use of modern-day genetic material as a guide to the distant past.

Another expert, Greger Larson of Oxford University, heaped praise on Boyko and said the paper is a ‘major step forward’ but suspected the use of modern DNA to get correct results.

“Now that Asia has been added to the mix, ‘Everyone with a favourite region can point to at least one paper that supports their suspicions’,” Larson said.

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