Dingoes are genetically distinct from domestic dogs. This is what scientists have discovered after fully decoding the dingo genome. Moreover, the scientists believe that their evolution has been affected by Australia’s climate.
A multinational team of experts studied the genetic makeup of Sandy Maliki, a pure desert dingo. And discovered that dingoes are a cross between wolves and domestic dog breeds. In addition to this, the experts spotted Sandy as a three-week-old puppy in the middle Australian desert. Moreover, she won a competition for the “world’s most intriguing genome” in 2017. That competition paid for the DNA sequencing.
The researchers discovered differences between the genomes of dingoes and domestic dogs using five types of DNA sequencing technology and epigenetic analysis. One major difference was the discrepancy in the number of copies of a gene that codes for amylase. Which is a starch-digesting enzyme. This revealed that like wolves, dingoes have only one copy of the amylase gene.
Prof. Bill Ballard believes that the sequenced dingo genome could have veterinary benefits for domestic dogs. Moreover, he thinks it might be used as a genetic reference for canine disorders. Because “rather than comparing it to another inbred dog, you’re comparing it to a healthy outbred animal,” he said.
The researchers also compared the microbiomes of dingo and German shepherd scat. After the comparison they discovered that the domestic dog had larger concentrations of three bacterial families involved in starch digestion. It was also suggested through previous research that “Dingoes are a wild canid that has been shaped by Australia’s climate and ecology over thousands of years,” said Dr. Kylie Cairns.
Now the next plan that the scientists have is to investigate whether dingoes have ever been domesticated or not. Moreover, this will help them gain a better understanding about crossbreeding with dogs.