The Fan Hitch   Volume 15, Number 4, September 2013

          Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog                                    
In This Issue....

From the Editor: A Great Man Has Passed


Passage

Baker Lake MLA Speaks Out in Support of Nunavut's Inuit Dogs

Proposed New Dog By-law, a Threat to Iqaluit Dog Team Owners?

Published Research Has Implications for the Aboriginal Inuit Sled Dog!

Fan Mail

The Chinook Project’s July 2013 Visit to Labrador


NFB Increases Internet Accessibility to its Film Library


Movie Review: Vanishing Point

Problems Accessing/Viewing Pages

IMHO: The Back Story of the Thank You DVD


Index: Volume 15, The Fan Hitch


Navigating This Site

Index of articles by subject

Index of back issues by volume number

Search The Fan Hitch


Articles to download and print

Ordering Ken MacRury's Thesis

Our comprehensive list of resources

Defining the Inuit Dog


Talk to The Fan Hitch

The Fan Hitch home page

Editor's/Publisher's Statement
Editor: Sue Hamilton
Webmaster: Mark Hamilton
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                                                              Photo: Vsetula

Published research has implications
for the aboriginal Inuit Sled Dog!

A team of scientists, lead by evolutionary biologist Peter Savolainen, PhD. (Animal genetics, Evolutionary genetics, Population genomics, Forensic DNA analysis) of Stockholm, Sweden, are part of the Science for Life Laboratory.  They have co-authored a research paper “Pre-Columbian origins of Native American dog breeds, with only limited replacement by European dogs, confirmed by mtDNA analysis” which was published in the in Proceedings of the Royal Society B on July 10, 2013. The results of this research, which include many DNA samples collected from Inuit Sled Dogs, has important implications for this aboriginal dog! Below is the authors’ announcement/abstract of their work where you will also find a link to the entire research paper available to everyone online for free.

Asian Origins of Native American Dogs Confirmed
Once thought to have been extinct, Native American dogs are on the contrary thriving, according to a recent study that links these breeds to ancient Asia.

The arrival of Europeans in the Americas has generally been assumed to have led to the extinction of indigenous dog breeds; but a comprehensive genetic study has found that the original population of Native American dogs has been almost completely preserved, says Peter Savolainen, a researcher in evolutionary genetics at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

In fact, American dog breeds trace their ancestry to ancient Asia, Savolainen says. These native breeds have 30 percent or less modern replacement by European dogs, he says.

“Our results confirm that American dogs are a remaining part of the indigenous American culture, which underscores the importance of preserving these populations,” he says.

Savolainen's research group, in cooperation with colleagues in Portugal, compared mitochondrial DNA from Asian and European dogs, ancient American archaeological samples, and American dog breeds, including Chihuahuas, Peruvian hairless dogs and Arctic sled dogs.

They traced the American dogs’ ancestry back to East Asian and Siberian dogs, and also found direct relations between ancient American dogs and modern breeds. “It was especially exciting to find that the Mexican breed, Chihuahua, shared a DNA type uniquely with Mexican pre-Columbian samples,” he says. “This gives conclusive evidence for the Mexican ancestry of the Chihuahua.”

The team also analysed stray dogs, confirming them generally to be runaway European dogs; but in Mexico and Bolivia they identified populations with high proportions of indigenous ancestry.

Savolainen says that the data also suggests that the Carolina Dog, a stray dog population in the U.S., may have an indigenous American origin.

Savolainen works at the Science for Life Laboratory, a collaboration involving KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm University, the Karolinska Institutet and Uppsala University.

Read the entire article published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B here and available for download in .pdf format here.

For more information: Peter Savolainen, +46 - 8 - 524 81 422; savo@kth.se.
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