University of Oulu

Loog, L, Thalmann, O, Sinding, M‐HS, et al. Ancient DNA suggests modern wolves trace their origin to a Late Pleistocene expansion from Beringia. Mol Ecol. 2020; 29: 1596– 1610.

Ancient DNA suggests modern wolves trace their origin to a Late Pleistocene expansion from Beringia

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Author: Loog, Liisa1,2,3,4; Thalmann, Olaf5; Sinding, Mikkel-Holger S.6,7,8;
Organizations: 1Univ Oxford, Res Lab Archaeol & Hist Art, Oxford, England.
2Univ Cambridge, Dept Zool, Cambridge, England.
3Univ Manchester, Sch Earth & Environm Sci, Manchester Inst Biotechnol, Manchester, Lancs, England.
4Univ Cambridge, Dept Genet, Cambridge, England.
5Poznan Univ Med Sci, Dept Pediat Gastroenterol & Metab Dis, Poznan, Poland.
6Univ Copenhagen, Globe Inst, EvoGen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
7Univ Oslo, Nat Hist Museum, Oslo, Norway.
8Univ Greenland, Qimmeg Project, Nuussuaq, Greenland.
9Univ Thbingen, Inst Archaeol Sci, Tubingen, Germany.
10Univ Tubingen, Senckenberg Ctr Human Evolut & Palaeoenvironm, Tubingen, Germany.
11Univ Zurich, Inst Evolutionary Med, Zurich, Switzerland.
12Max Planck Inst Evolutionary Anthropol, Dept Human Evolut, Leipzig, Germany.
13Royal Belgian Inst Nat Sci, OD Earth & Hist Life, Brussels, Belgium.
14Univ Tubingen, Dept Geosci, Palaeobiol, Tubingen, Germany.
15Univ Illinois, Sch Integrat Biol, Urbana, IL USA.
16Univ York, Dept Archaeol, BioArch, York, N Yorkshire, England.
17Royal Belgian Inst Nat Sci, OD Taxon & Phylogeny, Brussels, Belgium.
18Breeding Ctr Endangered Arabian Wildlife, Sharjah, U Arab Emirates.
19North Eastern Fed Univ, Inst Appl Ecol North, Mammoth Museum, Yakutsk, Russia.
20Natl Acad Sci Republ Armenia, Inst Archaeol & Ethnog, Yerevan, Armenia.
21Heidelberg Acad Sci & Humanities Role Culture Ear, Tubingen, Germany.
22Univ West Bohemia, Dept Anthropol, Pilzen, Czech Republic.
23Moravian Museum, Brno, Czech Republic.
24Charles Univ Prague, Fac Sci, Hrdlicka Museum Man, Prague, Czech Republic.
25Ludwig Maximilians Univ Munchen, Inst Palaeoanat Domesticat Res & Hist Vet Med, Munich, Germany.
26Russian Acad Sci, Geol Inst, Moscow, Russia.
27Russian Acad Sci, Inst Mat Culture Hist, St Petersburg, Russia.
28Arctic & Antarctic Res Inst, St Petersburg, Russia.
29Med Res Ctr, Inst Biomed & Bioctr Oulu, Oulu, Finland.
30Univ Oulu, Univ Hosp, Oulu, Finland.
31Univ Illinois, Carl R Woese Inst Genom Biol, Urbana, IL USA.
32Univ Copenhagen, Ctr GeoGenet Globe Inst, Copenhagen, Denmark.
33Wellcome Trust Sanger Inst, Cambridge, England.
34Univ Liverpool, Dept Archaeol Class & Egyptol, Liverpool, Merseyside, England.
35Univ Aberdeen, Dept Archaeol, Aberdeen, Scotland.
36Simon Fraser Univ, Dept Archaeol, Burnaby, BC, Canada.
37Norwegian Univ Sci & Technol, Univ Museum, Trondheim, Norway.
38Max Planck Inst Sci Human Hist, Jena, Germany.
39Kings Coll London, Guys Hosp, Dept Med & Mol Genet, London, England.
40Univ Tartu, Inst Genom, cGEM, Tartu, Estonia.
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-09-17


Grey wolves (Canis lupus) are one of the few large terrestrial carnivores that have maintained a wide geographical distribution across the Northern Hemisphere throughout the Pleistocene and Holocene. Recent genetic studies have suggested that, despite this continuous presence, major demographic changes occurred in wolf populations between the Late Pleistocene and early Holocene, and that extant wolves trace their ancestry to a single Late Pleistocene population. Both the geographical origin of this ancestral population and how it became widespread remain unknown. Here, we used a spatially and temporally explicit modelling framework to analyse a data set of 90 modern and 45 ancient mitochondrial wolf genomes from across the Northern Hemisphere, spanning the last 50,000 years. Our results suggest that contemporary wolf populations trace their ancestry to an expansion from Beringia at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum, and that this process was most likely driven by Late Pleistocene ecological fluctuations that occurred across the Northern Hemisphere. This study provides direct ancient genetic evidence that long‐range migration has played an important role in the population history of a large carnivore, and provides insight into how wolves survived the wave of megafaunal extinctions at the end of the last glaciation. Moreover, because Late Pleistocene grey wolves were the likely source from which all modern dogs trace their origins, the demographic history described in this study has fundamental implications for understanding the geographical origin of the dog.

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Series: Molecular ecology
ISSN: 0962-1083
ISSN-E: 1365-294X
ISSN-L: 0962-1083
Volume: 29
Issue: 9
Pages: 1596 - 1610
DOI: 10.1111/mec.15329
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: We are grateful to Daniel Klingberg Johansson & Kristian Murphy Gregersen from the Natural History Museum of Denmark; Gabriella Hürlimann from the Zurich Zoo; Jane Hopper from the Howlett's & the Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks; Cyrintha Barwise‐Joubert & Paul Vercammen from the Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife; Link Olson from the University of Alaska Museum of the North; Joseph Cook & Mariel Campbell from the Museum of Southwestern Biology; Lindsey Carmichael & David Coltman from the University of Alberta; North American Fur Auctions; Department of Environment Nunavut and Environment and Natural Resources Northwest Territories for DNA samples from the modern wolves. We are also grateful to the staff at the Danish National High‐Throughput Sequencing Centre for technical assistance in the data generation; the Qimmeq project, funded by The Velux Foundations and Aage og Johanne Louis‐Hansens Fond, for providing financial support for sequencing ancient Siberian wolf samples; the Rock Foundation (New York, USA) for supporting radiocarbon dating of ancient samples from the Yana site; to Stephan Nylinder from the Swedish Museum of Natural History for advice on phylogenetic analyses and Terry Brown from the University of Manchester for comments on the manuscript. L.L., K.D. and G.L. were supported by the Natural Environment Research Council, UK (grant numbers NE/K005243/1, NE/K003259/1); LL was also supported by the European Research Council grant (339941‐ADAPT); A.M. and A.E. were supported by the European Research Council Consolidator grant (grant number 647787‐LocalAdaptation); L.F. and G.L. were supported by the European Research Council grant (ERC‐2013‐StG 337574‐UNDEAD); T.G. was supported by a European Research Council Consolidator grant (681396‐Extinction Genomics) & Lundbeck Foundation grant (R52‐5062); O.T. was supported by the National Science Center, Poland (2015/19/P/NZ7/03971), with funding from EU's Horizon 2020 programme under the Marie Skłodowska‐Curie grant agreement (665778) and Synthesys Project (BETAF 3062); V.P., E.P. and P.N. were supported by the Russian Science Foundation grant (N16‐18‐10265 RNF); A.P. was supported by the Max Planck Society; M.L‐G. was supported by a Czech Science Foundation grant (GAČR15‐06446S).
Copyright information: © 2019 The Authors. Molecular Ecology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.