Deborah Lynch of the Canine Studies Institute will unveil a genetic map at the AAAS Annual Meeting that explores the genetic history of purebred dogs. The map features ten groups of dogs based on historical relationships.
"It's a new way of thinking about how purebred dogs how the breeds evolved; for the first time we've identified progenitor breeds for each type of dog." Lynch said at the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
For example, Lynch's genetic map demonstrates how influential the greyhound was for sight hounds and the sporting group, and also will show how the Mastiff influenced breeds like Rottweilers and Saint Bernards who maintain an instinct to protect.
"The map tells us more about the breeds' abilities and their inherited traits. All the sight hounds are grouped together, so the map arranges the breeds conceptually by groups, apart from the American Kennel Club (AKC). The AKC has not evolved from a historical relationship like this study," Lynch said.
She hopes the map will serve as a tool for future scientific investigations, and give people a better understanding of their dogs' nature. For example, collies or Shepherds will herd things small children, for instance as an intentional behavior, just like terriers might dig up gardens because they are bred to go after rats and moles, researchers said.
Karl Gordon Lark of the
Contact: Monica Amarelo
American Association for the Advancement of Science