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C R Biol. 2011 Mar;334(3):190-6. doi: 10.1016/j.crvi.2010.12.011. Epub 2011 Feb 1.

Toward understanding dog evolutionary and domestication history.

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UMR 6061 CNRS, institut de génétique et développement de Rennes (IGDR), faculté de médecine, université de Rennes 1, Rennes, France.


Dog domestication was probably started very early during the Upper paleolithic period (~35,000 BP), thus well before any other animal or plant domestication. This early process, probably unconscious, is called proto-domestication to distinguish it from the real domestication process that has been dated around 14,000 BC. Genomic DNA analyses have shown recently that domestication started in the Middle East and rapidly expanded into all human populations. Nowadays, the dog population is fragmented in several hundreds of breeds well characterized by their phenotypes that offer a unique spectrum of polymorphism. More recent studies detect genetic signatures that will be useful to highlight breed history as well as the impact of domestication at the DNA level.

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