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This topic contains 8 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Raluca-Williams Raluca-Williams 2 days, 4 hours ago.

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  • #7218
    stephanie paladino
    stephanie paladino
    Participant

    I’ve been wondering if the project has reached out to Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin and some of the other people who have been focused on, and in some cases, breeding from known lineages what have come to be called Carolina Dogs (aka American Dingoes, Dixie Dingoes, etc.). These are the wild-caught dingo-like dogs, mostly in undeveloped areas of the southeast US, that Brisbin and others hypothesize might be a distinctive ‘village’ or ‘pariah’ type population, not descended from European breeds but rather more related to dogs that might have accompanied human migrants from Asia over the Bering Straits. There has been some genetic study that supports that thinking (and includes other distinctly American breeds from Latin America), though not yet definitively, and it wasn’t the kind of genetic work that Darwin’s Ark is doing (unless there has been more recent work on it) I think it would be really interesting, and potentially really helpful to the questions being raised about these dogs, to have a large enough set of them in your reference panel, from known sources like Dr. Brisbin, to see how they compare genetically. My dog is one that I really think was a Carolina Dog mix based on both looks and some very distinctive behavioral traits described for them. She turned up with 30% unknown heritage in Darwin’s analysis (plus some other heritages that I really don’t see behaviorally or physically, and find myself questioning – i.e., were those really Macy’s results or did they get mixed up with someone else’s?). But if you could get samples from Brisbin and a few other folks that have since been breeding them, the results could really help shed some interesting light on their thinking. Thoughts?

    #7219
    Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Participant

    Have you seen the studies from Shannon et al (2015) and Ni Leathlobhair et al (2018)? Those are the two most recent genetic studies to include Carolina Dogs, and both concluded that all CDs tested were of predominantly European ancestry, with a range of 0-35% pre-Columbian/Asian ancestry at the level of individuals. Which is still a high average of pre-Columbian/Asian ancestry for an American dog type from outside the Arctic/Alaska region, but nonetheless paints a pretty different picture from what Brisbin had originally speculated, back in the days before this kind of testing was possible. AFAIK, the only other studies relevant to the CD are a couple earlier, more tentative ones that had looked only at mitochondrial DNA.

    Shannon et al: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4640804/
    Ni Leathlobhair et al: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326211519_The_evolutionary_history_of_dogs_in_the_Americas

    I know Embark tests for Carolina Dog, FTR. They are fairly generic-looking dogs even when pure, in the sense that any number of mixes with a good dose of spitz and/or herding type in them could wind up looking quite a lot like one.

    #7270
    stephanie paladino
    stephanie paladino
    Participant

    Thanks for the reply – I don’t think I’ve seen these two recent studies, and look forward to checking them out. There is a fair amount of romanticization and mythification going on about CD’s – as often happens with anyone’s favorite obsession, but here also with the added element of this radical ‘indigenous’ possibility – which is one of the reasons I think Darwin’s should specifically reach out to Dr. Brisbin et al. If I wanted to look at a potential CD’s DNA, I’d make sure I got it from his/their dogs, since Brisbin in particular is the one defining what they are (or might be) and has the dogs he thinks represent them (unlike many others who think they might). Plus, there are distinctive behaviors and personalities Brisbin et al. associate with the dogs, which fits into the Darwin’s quest – so if there were anything distinctive about them, it would be good to have that in the wider sample.

    #7271
    Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Participant

    It may be that there already are some Darwin’s Ark participants with registered CDs, I don’t know–this is, after all, a citizen science project designed to draw upon dog owners’ personal knowledge of their own dogs’ everyday behaviors. Currently, the UKC is the only registry for Carolina Dogs, and Brisbin himself is the keeper of the UKC Carolina Dog studbook, so to own a registered CD is by definition to own a dog Brisbin approved for addition to the studbook (or whose immediate ancestors had all already been thus approved and registered). I mention registration because I gather from previous statements by members of the Darwin’s Ark team that proof of registration is a prerequisite for their using a participant’s dog’s DNA as a breed reference sample. Which would make sense, since that’s how it’s usually done by any researchers or testing companies whose work requires verifying the purebred status of dogs who are specifically being studied as examples of that breed, or whose DNA will be used as a reference in breed mix analysis of other dogs.

    #7273
    kathleen morrill
    kathleen morrill
    Participant

    We may be able to add Carolina Dog in a future version of the breed reference panel as we acquire more samples.

    As with all reference breeds, we need to gather 12 confident Carolina Dogs — a little tricky given that they aren’t “purebred” in the same sense as other breeds. We want to be certain the dogs in the panel are from the population they represent, rather than a group of unrelated mixed breed dogs, which might just add noise to ancestry results.

    From publicly released DNA data, there are only 4 Carolina Dogs. In our database, we do have a lot of dogs indicated as Carolina Dogs — 29 dogs in total — but only three indicated as registered. Of those three, we have 2 samples on-hand, though not-yet-sequenced. Those that are sequenced show a high unknown percentage in their ancestry — I’d like to reach out to their owners to see what they know about their dogs’ backgrounds.

    #7274
    Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Participant

    How do researchers handle this when sampling village/pariah dogs? For example, if you’re collecting DNA from, say, Indian Pariah Dogs, how do you “ensure” you’re only sampling “pure” ones, and not mixes of IPD with recently arrived strays of foreign ancestry, or even just plain ol’ mutts?

    I gather from articles I’ve read that Brisbin at least sometimes approves dogs for the CD studbook based solely on looking at photos and completed questionnaires from owners who mailed in that information, and at some other times, based solely on meeting and observing a dog someone adopted from a shelter somewhere. Maybe not the most scientific way to do it, especially in a time when, as Stephanie mentioned, there’s an increasing amount of romanticized public interest in these dogs. (For awhile there, there was an eyebrow-raisingly improbable number of “Carolina Dogs” and “Carolina Dog mixes” being posted to Petfinder–basically, “Well, it’s tawny, prick-eared and shorthaired, so let’s call it a CD”–but I notice they’ve recently quietly dropped CDs from their breeds list altogether, which makes me wonder if someone of influence complained.) But what else is Brisbin supposed to do? He knows better than anyone else what the real thing can look like, they need genetic diversity to build a breed, and wild-caught CDs are hard to come by and could even themselves turn out to be mutts anyway.

    #7437
    stephanie paladino
    stephanie paladino
    Participant

    Appreciate the thoughtful replies. As a response to the challenge mentioned of including dogs of reasonably confidant CD status, to the extent that’s possible – that’s why I thought directly reaching out to Dr. Brisbin is the best way. He has dogs on his property raised directly from dogs of known provenance, in the sense that they were wild caught by him and what he considers to be a Carolina Dog. As a scientist, I’d think he’d be interested in having them included. And there are some folks he’s cooperated with that have pooches from his pooches. Even if they’re not in the reference panel, having them in the study means one could still look for patterns in DNA and/or behavioral relationships, right?

    As for my pooch in the study, I’d like to ask if y’all can check and make sure that the results sent me really are for my dog – I know there was at least one case of a mix-up, and as I say, the results just seemed so far off in terms of behavior and looks – except for the 1/3 unknown ancestry. I can imagine a lot of people are surprised by results and asking for same, so I hate to add one more request to the staff. But I remain with that doubt. Thanks.

    #7450
    jessica hekman
    jessica hekman
    Keymaster

    Hi, Stephanie. I took a look at Macy’s results and they look reasonable to me, though I can completely see how they would be surprising. The 30% unknown may well be Carolina Dog. There’s another 30% “other”. The breeds that are in that list are stuck in there because they’re all at less than 5%, which means we don’t really trust that they’re for real. So you can just as well look at her as 60% unknown/possible CD. (It’s debatable whether we should include the breeds that we have low confidence on, but we opted to give folks more information back rather than less.)

    For the rest, I’d feel quite confident that she does have a grandparent who was a purebred Collie, leaving her with about 25% Collie. But all in all, she is a mixy-mix, and when you have so many breeds in there, the traits can combine in some really surprising ways. So it isn’t too surprising that she doesn’t really look like one thing or another.

    Let me know if you want to talk more about this, either here or by emailing team@darwinsark.org and asking them to transfer the mail to me.

    Jessica
    Darwin’s Ark Researcher

    #7494
    Raluca-Williams
    Raluca-Williams
    Participant

    If it helps anyone, I own a wild-caught CD who did receive a letter from Dr. Brisbin, along with several of her (now-adult) puppies. I added her as well as a male and a female puppy to Darwin’s list just today. I, too, am very interested in testing CDs and am excited about the prospect of them being added!

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