Microsatellite variation in the Australian dingo

A N Wilton, D J Steward, K Zafiris

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52 Citations (Scopus)


The dingo is thought to have arrived in Australia from Asia about 5,000 years ago. It is currently in danger because of interbreeding with domestic dogs. Several morphological, behavioral, and reproductive characteristics distinguish dingoes from domestic dog. Skull morphometrics are currently used to try to classify wild canids as pure dingo, dog, or hybrid. Molecular techniques based on diagnostic DNA differences between dogs and dingoes would make a much more reliable and practical test. A small number of markers (about 10) would allow detection of animals with domestic dog in their ancestry several generations back. We have typed 16 dingoes and 16 dogs of mixed breed for 14 microsatellites. The amount of variation in the Australian dingo is much less than in domestic dogs. The size distributions of microsatellites in the two groups usually overlap. The number of alleles in the dingo is much smaller in all cases. One dinucleotide repeat locus shows a size difference of 1 bp in allele classes between dog and dingo, This locus may be diagnostic for dog or dingo ancestry, The differences in distributions of alleles at other loci can also be used to classify animals using a likelihood method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-111
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Heredity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1999
EventInternational Workshop on Canine Genetics - The Map, the Genes, the Diseases - ITHACA
Duration: 12 Jul 199713 Jul 1997


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