Ancient DNA suggests modern wolves trace their origin to a late Pleistocene expansion from Beringia.
Sinding, Mikkel-Holger S
Schuenemann, Verena J
Witt, Kelsey E
Samaniego Castruita, Jose A
Velasco, Marcela S
Lundstrøm, Inge KC
Kandel, Andrew W
Nikolskiy, Pavel A
Pavlova, Elena Y
Pitulko, Vladimir V
Malhi, Ripan S
Hansen, Anders J
Gilbert, M Thomas P
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Loog, L., Thalmann, O., Sinding, M. S., Schuenemann, V. J., Perri, A., Germonpré, M., Bocherens, H., et al. (2019). Ancient DNA suggests modern wolves trace their origin to a late Pleistocene expansion from Beringia.. Molecular Ecology https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.15329
Grey wolves (Canis lupus) are one of the few large terrestrial carnivores that have maintained a wide geographic 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 geographic 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 dataset 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 an 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.
ABC, Ancient DNA, Coalescent modelling, Megafauna, Pleistocene, Population Turnover, Population structure, Wolves
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).
ECH2020 EUROPEAN RESEARCH COUNCIL (ERC) (647787)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.15329
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/300235
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