Narrow genetic basis for the Australian dingo confirmed through analysis of paternal ancestry

Genetica. 2012 Mar;140(1-3):65-73. doi: 10.1007/s10709-012-9658-5. Epub 2012 May 23.


The dingo (Canis lupus dingo) is an iconic animal in the native culture of Australia, but archaeological and molecular records indicate a relatively recent history on the continent. Studies of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) imply that the current dingo population was founded by a small population of already tamed dogs from Southeast Asia. However, the maternal genetic data might give a unilateral picture, and the gene pool has yet to be screened for paternal ancestry. We sequenced 14,437 bp of the Y-chromosome (Y-chr) from two dingoes and one New Guinea Singing Dog (NGSD). This positioned dingo and NGSD within the domestic dog Y-chr phylogeny, and produced one haplotype not detected before. With this data, we characterized 47 male dingoes in 30 Y-chr single-nucleotide polymorphism sites using protease-mediated allele-specific extension technology. Only two haplotypes, H3 and H60, were found among the dingoes, at frequencies of 68.1 and 31.9 %, respectively, compared to 27 haplotypes previously established in the domestic dog. While H3 is common among Southeast Asian dogs, H60 was specifically found in dingoes and the NGSD, but was related to Southeast Asian dog Y-chr haplotypes. H3 and H60 were observed exclusively in the western and eastern parts of Australia, respectively, but had a common range in Southeast. Thus, the Y-chr diversity was very low, similar to previous observations for d-loop mtDNA. Overall genetic evidence suggests a very restricted introduction of the first dingoes into Australia, possibly from New Guinea. This study further confirms the dingo as an isolated feral dog.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Australia
  • Dogs / classification
  • Dogs / genetics*
  • Haplotypes*
  • Male
  • Phylogeny
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Wolves / classification
  • Wolves / genetics*
  • Y Chromosome / genetics*