Origin, genetic diversity, and genome structure of the domestic dog

Bioessays. 1999 Mar;21(3):247-57. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1521-1878(199903)21:3<247::AID-BIES9>3.0.CO;2-Z.


Comparative analysis of mammalian genomes provides important insight into the structure and function of genes. However, the comparative analysis of gene sequences from individuals of the same and different species also provides insight into the evolution of genes, populations, and species. We exemplify these two uses of genomic information. First, we document the evolutionary relationships of the domestic dog to other carnivores by using a variety of DNA-based information. A phylogenetic comparison of mitochondrial DNA sequences in dogs and gray wolves shows that dogs may have originated from multiple wolf populations at a time much earlier than suggested by the archaeologic record. We discuss previous theories about dog development and evolution in light of the new genetic data. Second, we review recent progress in dog genetic mapping due to the development of hypervariable markers and specific chromosome paints. Extensive genetic homology in gene order and function between humans and dogs has been discovered. The dog promises to be a valuable model for identifying genes that control morphologic differences between mammals as well as understanding genetically based disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic
  • Biological Evolution
  • Breeding
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Dogs / classification
  • Dogs / genetics*
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Humans
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid