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R Soc Open Sci. 2016 Nov 9;3(11):160449. doi: 10.1098/rsos.160449. eCollection 2016 Nov.

Amy2B copy number variation reveals starch diet adaptations in ancient European dogs.

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CNRS/ENS de Lyon, French National Platform of Paleogenetics, PALGENE, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, 46 allée d'Italie, 69364 Lyon Cedex 07, France; Laboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine (LECA), Université Grenoble Alpes, 38000 Grenoble, France.
CNRS/MNHN/SUs-UMR 7209 Archéozoologie , Archéobotanique: Sociétés, Pratiques et Environnements , 55 rue Buffon, 75005 Paris , France.
Institut de Génétique et Développement de Rennes , CNRS-UMR6290, Université de Rennes1, 35000 Rennes , France.
Science for Life Laboratory, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology , Uppsala University , 75237 Uppsala , Sweden.
The National Museum of Romanian History , 12 Calea Victoriei, 030026 Bucharest , Romania.
Russian Academy of Science , Zoological Institute , Saint Petersburg , Russia.
CNRS/ENS , Aoroc, 45 rue d'Ulm, 75005 Paris , France.


Extant dog and wolf DNA indicates that dog domestication was accompanied by the selection of a series of duplications on the Amy2B gene coding for pancreatic amylase. In this study, we used a palaeogenetic approach to investigate the timing and expansion of the Amy2B gene in the ancient dog populations of Western and Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to estimate the copy numbers of this gene for 13 ancient dog samples, dated to between 15 000 and 4000 years before present (cal. BP). This evidenced an increase of Amy2B copies in ancient dogs from as early as the 7th millennium cal. BP in Southeastern Europe. We found that the gene expansion was not fixed across all dogs within this early farming context, with ancient dogs bearing between 2 and 20 diploid copies of the gene. The results also suggested that selection for the increased Amy2B copy number started 7000 years cal. BP, at the latest. This expansion reflects a local adaptation that allowed dogs to thrive on a starch rich diet, especially within early farming societies, and suggests a biocultural coevolution of dog genes and human culture.


Neolithic; amylase; dog; domestication; palaeogenomics

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