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Image of a canine burial
5th July 2018
The arrival of Europeans to the Americas, beginning in the 15th century, all but wiped out the dogs that had lived alongside native people on the continent for thousands of years, according to new research published today in Science. But one close relative of these native dogs lives on in an unexpected place – as a transmissible cancer whose genome is that of the original dog in which it appeared, but which has since spread throughout the world. Using genetic information from 71 archaeological dog remains from North America and Siberia, an international team led by researchers at the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Queen Mary University of London, and Durham University showed that ‘native’ (or ‘pre-contact’) American dogs, which arrived alongside people over 10,000 years ago and dispersed throughout North and South America, possessed genetic signatures unlike dogs found anywhere else in the world.

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1st January 2014
Duration: 2014 - 2019 Funding: European Research Council (ERC-2013-StG 337574-UNDEAD)
1st January 2014
Duration: 2013 - 2016 Funding: Natural Environment Research Council, UK (NE/K005243/1 and NE/K003259/1)
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