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By Zhuang Xie - June 2008
Laboratory of Animal Reproductive Genetics and Molecular Evolution, College of Animal Science and Technology, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China.
At present, the Tibetan Mastiff is the oldest and most ferocious dog in the world.
However, the origin of the Tibetan Mastiff and its phylogenetic relationship with other large breed dogs such as Saint Bernard are unclear.
In this study, the primers were designed according to the mitochondrial genome sequence of the domestic dog, and the 2,525 bp mitochondrial sequence, containing the whole sequence of Cytochrome b, tRNA-Thr, tRNA-Pro, and control region of the Tibetan Mastiff, was obtained.
Using grey wolves and coyotes as outgroups, the Tibetan Mastiff and 12 breeds of domestic dogs were analyzed in phylogenesis.
Tibetan Mastiff, domestic dog breeds, and grey wolves were clustered into a group and coyotes were clustered in a group separately.
This indicated that the Tibetan Mastiff and the other domestic dogs originated from the grey wolf, and the Tibetan Mastiff belonged to Carnivora, Canidae, Canis, Canis lupus, Canis lupus familiaris on the animal taxonomy.
In domestic dogs, the middle and small breed dogs were clustered at first; German Sheepdog, Swedish Elkhound, and Black Russian Terrier were clustered into one group, and the Tibetan Mastiff, Old English Sheepdog, Leonberger, and Saint Bernard were clustered in another group.
This confirmed the viewpoint that many of the famous large breed dogs worldwide such as Saint Bernard possibly had the blood lineage of the Tibetan Mastiff, based on the molecular data.
According to the substitution rate, we concluded that the approximate divergence time between Tibetan Mastiff and grey wolf was 58,000 years before the present (YBP), and the approximate divergence time between other domestic dogs and grey wolf was 42,000 YBP, demonstrating that the time of origin of the Tibetan Mastiff was earlier than that of the other domestic dogs.