2010, Response to this article in the Proceedings of the National
African Village Dogs, their
to each other, Other Breeds, including Basenji, Pharaoh Hound,
Ridgeback, Saluki and Afghan hound
Summary by Dr.
© de Caprona
or AfriCanis in this study
photographs copyrighted to their photographers. Please do not use for any
purpose without asking.
Some of the dogs in
study, from North (Egypt) to South (Namibia). The muzzle is to control
the dog during blood sampling.
Carlos D. Bustamante Laboratory.
D. Bustamante Laboratory.
~ Uganda mainland (Busoba) © Carlos D. Bustamante Laboratory.
~ North Namibia (Onhuno) ~ North Namibia (Oshikango) ©
D. Bustamante Laboratory.
North Namibia (Cham
© Carlos D. Bustamante Laboratory.
~ Central Namibia (Otavi) ~ Central Namibia (Grootfontaine)
Carlos D. Bustamante Laboratory.
population structure in African village dogs and its implications for
dog domestication history" by Adam R. Boyko et al. (2009) was
out to ascertain the genetic diversity of African village dogs and
it to the high sampling diversity of East Asian village dogs which is
to argue that domestication of the dog happened in East Asia.
318 of semi-feral
dogs from 7 regions in Egypt, Uganda, and Namibia, were sampled and
with 126 breeds of western bred dogs including Basenji, Afghan hounds,
Salukis, Pharaoh hounds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Salukis, as well as with
Puerto Rican street dogs, and mixed-breed dogs from the United States
were sampled in three distinct locales:Giza (animal shelter), Luxor
shelter and surroundings), and Kharga (rural desert oasis). The
distance between Giza and Luxor is greater than that between Kharga and
Luxor, but the desert could be a strong barrier to gene flow between
and Luxor resulting in their populations being more genetically
from a cluster of villages east of Kampala and 30 dogs
from three neighboring isleands of the KomeIsland group in Lake
Although the islands are close to each other and just 20 km off the
the authors expected the lake might act as a genetic dispersal barrier.
Dogs from over a dozen villages and urban areas in the northern and
parts of the country were sampled. There are no natural barriers
sampling locations. However, a cordon fence exists which keeps
diseases from the North out of the southern part of the country. Dogs
not forbidden to go across the cordon and can get through the fence
Dogs within 100 km of both sides of the cordon were sampled, as well as
from populations within 10–20 km of the fence, to see whether this
had any isolating effect.
To determine the
non-native admixture in African dogs the following populations were
16 Dogs of two
in Puerto Rico,
from the United States of America
Samples from dogs
studies (Parker et al.) representing 126 breeds, including 129 dogs of
the following breeds (western bred): Afghan hounds, Basenjis, Pharaoh
Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and Salukis were use for comparison.
DNA (mtDNA), microsatellites,
and SNP markers were used to characterize population structure
680 bp of the mitochondrial D-loop were sequenced, including the 582-bp
region described previously by P.Savolainen et al. (2002)
typed on a 89-microsatellite panel.
SNP markers were analysed from 168 village dogs, 102 mixed-breed dogs,
and 126 western bred breeds.
The authors found
Rican street dogs clustered with the mixed-breed dogs from the United
indicating these dogs are all breed admixtures.
For the other
five groupings were consistent for the African village dogs: the
dogs, the Ugandan mainland dogs, the Kome Island dogs, the Northern
dogs, and admixed dogs in a few of the village dogs.
84% of African
dogs outside of central Namibia showed little or no evidence of
admixture, whereas all central Namibian dogs had more than 25%
most with more than 60%.
virtually no genetic differentiation from American mixed breed dogs.
Egyptian dogs from
and Luxor show little differentiation also.
was found between Egyptian and sub-Saharan populations and between
and Namibian populations.
the most distinct whereas dogs from mainland Uganda and northern
(2,900 km apart) show only moderate differentiation.
were differentiated: Basenjis on their own, Salukis and Afghan hounds
the Pharaoh hound.
47 haplotypes were
in the African dogs, 9 haplotypes in the Puerto Rican dogs, two
which found also in the United States mixed breeds All haplotypes were
in the A (33 African haplotypes), B (6 African haplotypes), or C
haplotypes) clades, the 3 which are believed to contain 95% of domestic
18 of the African
haf not been described by Savolainen et al.: 14 in A clade, 1 in B
and 3 in C clade. The Puerto Rican and United States mixed-breed dogs
8 A clade and one B clade haplotypes (1 haplotype, a Puerto Rican A
haplotype, was not previously described)
did not differ systematically between African regions and similarly
regions in East Asia, the purported origin of domestic dogs.
This study shows
village dogs have complex population structure resulting from
distance, local gene flow barriers, and the presence or absence of
DNA in some populations. Most importantly the vast majority of the
village dogs could be classified as indigenous (less than 25% of
ancestry) and some as non-native (more than 60% of non-African
Only 7 % showed intermediate level of African ancestry.
The authors state:"The
levels of admixture within regions suggests that
dog genes are quickly removed from village dog populations, or that
with non-indigenous dogs is a very recent phenomenon in these areas."
ancestry were from central Namibia, where every dog had significant
of non-african admixture, and Giza, where all dogs showed some, usually
low, level of admixture. This background level of admixture in Giza is
thought by the authors to reflect the relative proximity of Giza to
Groupings were detected among the admixed dogs which could result from
ancestral breeds being different in various individuals.
grouped in a large cluster separated from the Basenji, Saluki/Afghan
Rhodesian Ridgeback/Pharaoh Hound clusters. The Egyptian village
dogs were somewhat closer to the Saluki/Afghan, the Ugandan and North
dogs closer to the Basenji. The Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Pharaoh hounds**were
closer to mixed-bred dogs, suggesting these breeds have had admixture
to gene flow:
The 230 km of desert
the Kharga oasis from Luxor led to much stronger differentiation
the populations of village dogs in these areas, than the 500 km Nile
between Luxor and Giza.
The dogs from the
which lie 10–20 km from the mainland in Lake Victoria were much more
from mainland dogs in Uganda than were northern Namibian populations
across all genetic marker types in all village dog populations except
of the Kharga oasis and the Kome islands (populations which are more
and likely smaller, resulting in higher levels of inbreeding).
the samples taken at a 20–100 km distance between northern and central
Namibian populations on each side of that country’s Red Line veterinary
cordon fence showed a stark population boundary—dogs north of the
averaged 87% indigenous African ancestry while those south of the
were only 9%African. For the past 100 years, this fence under
watch has separated the indigenous human populations (to the north)
white settlers (to the south)***.
fence is now used to restrict livestock from crossing southward.
In their own
words, the authors
state: "African village dogs exhibited a similar level of mitochondrial
D-loop diversity to that of the dogs sampled by P. Savolainen at
in East Asia, the putative site of dog domestication. Although we do
suggest that Africa is actually the site of dog domestication, we do
that an East Asian origin of dogs should be further scrutinized,
as Africa also has numerous private haplotypes and East Asia has no
haplogroups, with the possible exception of clade E"
I thank A.R.Boyko
this text and for granting permission to use the photos of African
dogs, as well as all the other photographers who provided pictures for
Adam R. Boyko,
Boyko, Corin M. Boyko, Heidi G. Parker, Marta Castelhano, Liz Corey,
D. Degenhardt, Adam Autona, Marius Hedimbi, Robert Kityo, Elaine A.
Jeffrey Schoenebeck, Rory J. Todhunterd, Paul Jones, and Carlos D.
(2009):"Complex population structure in African village dogs and its
implications for inferring dog domestication history" in
of the National Academy of Sciences.
Luo J, Lundeberg J, Leitner T (2002): "Genetic evidence for an
Asian origin of domestic dogs." Science 298:1610–1613.
* Among the
countries of origin of the Saluki (Arabian peninsula, Syria, Iran,
Iran shares borders with the country of origin of the Afghan Hound
The Pharaoh Hound is indigenous to the island of Malta in the
sea, not far from other European breeds. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is
to have been developed by crossing the indigenous Hottentot ridged dogs
with dogs imported by the Dutch, German and Huguenot settlers in the
and 17th centuries (Danes, Mastiffs, Greyhounds, Salukis, Bloodhounds).
German settlers had imported European breeds.
Hounds, both © Schwab
Afghan Hound ©
Gross von Hübbenet ~ Saluki ©
their ridges © Bonnie van den Born ~ Rhodesian