Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

How American dogs disappeared and left a contagious cancer behind

How American dogs disappeared and left a contagious cancer behind

North American dogs disappeared shortly after the arrival of the first Europeans. Did they intermix with dogs brought by European settlers?

But it was the European wave of immigrants that spelled doom for American dogs, the study found. Perri said historical accounts suggest various possibilities for the demise. The experts received samples of dogs during the excavations held in the territory of modern IL. This story begins and ends with the question of when and where this mysterious founder dog lived when its cancer lineage first emerged.

"It is known how Indigenous peoples of the Americas suffered from the genocidal practices of European colonists after contact", he said. Man's best friend, the domesticated dog, didn't arrive for another 6,000 years or so, crossing over just in time to avoid the land bridge's collapse, but archaeological evidence suggests that the two species lived in harmony for thousands of years-at least until 1492, the year Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

Dogs have been man's best friend for more than 10,000 years, but a new study shows it has been a doggone tough road to get here: their ancestors in the Americas likely came from Siberia, and these early dog populations nearly totally disappeared, but not before leaving a cancerous tumor that is still found in their canine descendants today.

"It is fascinating that a population of dogs that inhabited many parts of the Americas for thousands of years, and that was an integral part of so many Native American cultures, could have disappeared so rapidly", senior lead author Laurent Frantz, a lecturer at Queen Mary University and co-investigator at the University of Oxford, said.

The team collected genetic information from 71 ancient dog remains from the Americas and found that early dogs arrived alongside people who eventually settled throughout North, Central and South America.

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"I think it's an important technical achievement to get more ancient dog genomes", Veeramah, who is unaffiliated with the research, told Gizmodo.

The oldest known domestic dog remains in the Americas are approximately 9,900-year-old skeletons in IL.

The Siberian huskies, malamutes and general sledding dogs are considered to be the closest to the original North American breeds.

Savolainen, who is unaffiliated with the current study, notes that his and others' research has shown that certain breeds, such as the Carolina dogs, do seem to lack numerous genetic markers found in European-descended dogs.

"Although this cancer's DNA has mutated over the years, it is still essentially the DNA of that original founder dog from many thousands of years ago". This defies the popular notion that American dogs had evolved from North American wolves. And there is some genetic legacy of those ancient North American dogs.

Even though native or "pre-contact" dogs were quickly wiped out, their genome closely matches a kind of venereal disease that causes canine transmissible venereal tumors (CTVT). While doing their analysis, the researchers happened to discover that the genes of one pre-contact dog live on in a sexually transmitted canine cancer. Some ancient remains excavated decades ago and labeled wolves or coyotes might actually be from dogs or hybrids, but it will take DNA analysis to find out, she said. "This cancer has its own genome", Perri said. Their relationship can be traced back from the earliest of times.

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