Scientists have sequenced the genome of a desert dingo (dingo kennel) from a remote region of southern Australia and compared it with five breeds that span the lineage of the domestic dog (Boxer, German Shepherd, Basenji, Great Dane and Labrador Retriever).
Dogs are a highly successful model for informing the prehistoric movement of humans, the development of human culture, and domestication processes.
Dingoes represent a unique lineage in dog history as they have been geographically isolated from wolves and domestic dogs for thousands of years. They are believed to have arrived in Australia between 3,500 and 8,500 years ago, possibly as a one-time introduction, and have been mainland predators since the extinction of the Tasmanian tiger.
Since their introduction, dingo populations have been naturally selected to thrive on a diet of marsupials and reptiles.
The first domestic dogs were brought to Australia in 1788, and with the expansion of later settlers, domestic dog DNA became introverted into dingo genetics.
“The survival of dingoes is critical to maintaining a healthy and balanced ecosystem,” said Professor Bill Ballard from La Trobe University. “Dingos are Australia’s ‘first-order predators’, meaning they influence everything in their environment.”
“If dingoes are not given the protection they deserve, it will affect the ecological balance of the country – potentially leading to environmental problems such as degradation and extinction of the species.”
In a new quest, Published in the scientific journal Science AdvancesProfessor Ballard and his colleagues sequenced the genome of Sandy, a “pure” desert dingo that had been found with its sister as a cub on a road near the Strzelecki Track in Australia’s central desert.
The researchers cited Sandy’s genome with those of the Greenland wolf and five domestic dog breeds at the beginning of this text. The results showed that purebred dingoes are ‘intermediate’ between wolves and domestic dog breeds.
“Understanding the genetic code of the iconic Australian animal is a breakthrough for us,” said Professor Ballard. “It gives us a clearer view of how the dingo evolved—which is fascinating from a scientific point of view, but also opens up all kinds of new ways to monitor its health and ensure its long-term survival.”
“One of the main differences between dingoes and dogs is the number of copies of the pancreatic ‘amylase’ gene in each. A pure-bred dingo has only one copy of the amylase gene, whereas domestic dogs have multiple copies – which is what we show. that affect the gut microbiome and, we predict, affect what dingoes eat,” the researchers said.
“Based on this new knowledge, we hypothesized that farm animals, including sheep, are very likely to be eaten. If we are correct, what farmers currently believe are dingoes killing their herds are wild dogs.”