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How much dog do black wolves have?

Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:03 pm
by GoldenBeauty
All black wolves got their magnificent black coats from ancient dogs, but how much percent dog do black wolves actually carry? 5%, 00.1%, etc?

Re: How much dog do black wolves have?

Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:39 pm
by DaniBeez
Hey GoldenBeauty,

All grey wolves and dogs are very, very similar genetically, because they did and still do hybridize frequently across evolutionary time:
In general, the domestic dog is an extremely close relative of the gray wolf, from which it differs by only ∼0.04% in nuclear coding-DNA sequence, and no dog [mitochondrial]DNA sequences have been found that show closer kinship to other canid species.

Additionally, all modern wolves⁠—regardless of coat color⁠—have the K gene in their genomes that controls black coat expression. All modern dogs also have that K gene. This gene comes from some common ancestor of both grey wolves and dogs. The black coat-inducing mutation, or version, of the K gene first arose in some dogs, and became more frequent in some Northern grey wolf populations from these hybridization events.

With these concepts in mind, we can assume that some wolves, black or not, may have more recent dog hybridization events in their lineage compared to other wolf populations. But because these canid species were historically and frequently hybridizing with each other, their genomes are virtually identical despite the phenotypic diversity we can see across and within wolves and dogs.

Let us know if you have further questions or would like a different explanation!