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Mitochondrial DNA Data Indicate an Introduction Through Mainland Southeast Asia for Australian Dingoes and Polynesian Domestic Dogs


Mitochondrial DNA Data Indicate an Introduction Through Mainland Southeast Asia for Australian Dingoes and Polynesian Domestic Dogs

Mattias C R Oskarsson et al. Proc Biol Sci.


In the late stages of the global dispersal of dogs, dingoes appear in the Australian archaeological record 3500 years BP, and dogs were one of three domesticates brought with the colonization of Polynesia, but the introduction routes to this region remain unknown. This also relates to questions about human history, such as to what extent the Polynesian culture was introduced with the Austronesian expansion from Taiwan or adopted en route, and whether pre-Neolithic Australia was culturally influenced by the surrounding Neolithic world. We investigate these questions by mapping the distribution of the mtDNA founder haplotypes for dingoes (A29) and ancient Polynesian dogs (Arc1 and Arc2) in samples across Southern East Asia (n = 424) and Island Southeast Asia (n = 219). All three haplotypes were found in South China, Mainland Southeast Asia and Indonesia but absent in Taiwan and the Philippines, and the mtDNA diversity among dingoes indicates an introduction to Australia 4600-18 300 years BP. These results suggest that Australian dingoes and Polynesian dogs originate from dogs introduced to Indonesia via Mainland Southeast Asia before the Neolithic, and not from Taiwan together with the Austronesian expansion. This underscores the complex origins of Polynesian culture and the isolation from Neolithic influence of the pre-Neolithic Australian culture.


Figure 1.
Figure 1.
Minimum spanning network showing the genetic relationships of haplotypes in the major dog haplogroup, clade A, and their representation in geographical regions. Haplotypes, found among the 909 dogs and dingoes specifically studied here, and in a global sample of 1224 dogs [9], are represented by circles; lines represent one mutational step (substitutions); black dots represent hypothetical haplotypes. Red borders denote Arc1 haplotypes, orange borders denote Arc2 haplotypes. Black borders denote haplotypes carried by dingoes; the central haplotype is A29. Blue filling denotes haplotypes found in the specific region and shared with other regions in the Old World; yellow filling denotes haplotypes unique to the region; no filling denotes haplotypes not present but found in other regions; green filling denotes the New Guinean haplotype A79.
Figure 2.
Figure 2.
Frequency of the Polynesian haplotypes Arc1 and Arc2, and the dingo founder haplotype A29 in geographical regions. The number of individuals carrying each haplotype, total number of samples for the region and frequency (per cent) are shown. Arrows indicate suggested introduction routes. For Australia, A29 denotes both haplotypes A29 and A29′ (see text).

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