DNA, diet shed light on dog evolution

01/23/2013 | ScienceMag.org

Dogs evolved from wolves some 11,000 years ago to live and work -- and apparently eat -- alongside humans, according to a new study. Genetic analysis has revealed that dogs possess more genes that code for production of the starch-digesting enzyme amylase than wolves, which helps dogs digest a more humanlike diet. Dogs also produce a longer form of the enzyme maltase that is more characteristic of plant-eating animals. "Dogs are different from wolves and don't need a wolflike diet," said evolutionary biologist Robert Wayne, commenting on the significance of the findings.

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