ISSN 1022-7954, Russian Journal of Genetics, 2006, Vol. 42, No. 7, pp. 748–751. © Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2006.
Original Russian Text © O.M. Ryabinina, 2006, published in Genetika, 2006, Vol. 42, No. 7, pp. 917–920.
The conservation of the genetic diversity of domes-
tic animals, including dogs, is necessary for breeding.
Breeds based on preexisting native breeds are of special
interest in this respect.
Breeds of large, strong dogs similar in exterior and,
probably, origin are widely distributed in various
regions of Asia. The local people have been tradition-
ally using them to guard livestock against predators.
The Central Asian Shepherd Dog is an established
breed created in the 20th century out of several native
populations formed in Central Asia, where dogs of dif-
ferent types occur in different regions . The Northern
Caucasian Volkodav is a group of native breeds that are
common in the Northern Caucasus [2, 3].
The Caucasian Shepherd Dog was established as a
pure breed in the 20th century; its founders were dogs
brought from Transcaucasian countries .
The akbash and kangal (karabash) are Turkish
native Shepherd Dogs that are common in the western
and central regions of Turkey, respectively. Since the
numbers of these dogs decreased in the 20th century,
measures were taken to restore and breed them as pure
Earlier studies on the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)
control region of various breeds of dogs demonstrated
that their haplotypes form three main haplogroups (A,
B, and C), a rarer haplogroup D, haplogroup E similar
to haplogroup W found in wolves, and haplogroup F
similar to A. This subdivision of haplotypes into groups
was based on the topology of phylogenetic trees con-
structed by the maximum likelihood, maximum parsi-
mony, neighbor-joining, and median network methods.
Haplogroups A, B, and C, which include more than
95% of haplotypes, originated in Asia . The high
homoplasy in this mtDNA region of domestic dogs
makes it insufﬁcient for revealing all phylogenetic rela-
tionships between haplotypes in the most common hap-
logroup A .
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Hair and blood samples were collected during rou-
tine veterinary practice from 29 unrelated Central Asian
Shepherd Dogs from the population bred in Moscow
and the Moscow oblast, 26 Northern Caucasian Volko-
davs from the Northern Caucasian population, and 29
Caucasian Shepherd Dogs from the population living in
Moscow and the Moscow oblast.
An ExtraGene and a Diatom DNA Prep 100 kits
(Izogen, Russia) were used to isolate DNA from the
hair and blood of dogs, respectively. A fragment of the
5' part of the mtDNA control region was ampliﬁed with
the use of primers L15910 and H16498 . PCR was
performed with a PCR Core reagent kit (Izogen), and
an MJ Research PTC-200 ampliﬁer under the following
C for 3 min; 35 cycles at 95
C for 15 s, at
C for 20 s, and at 72
C for 1 min; and ﬁnal elonga-
tion at 72
C for 5 min. The ampliﬁcation products were
separated by electrophoresis in 1.5% agarose gel and
eluted from the gel with the use of a Wizard SV Gel and
PCR Clean-Up System (Promega, United States). The
DNA fragments were sequenced according to Sanger
with the use of an ABI Prism 3100-Avant sequencer
and a BigDye Termination kit v.3.1 (Applied Biosys-
tems, United States) as recommended by the manufac-
A 321-bp fragment was analyzed. The Arlequin 3.0
software  was used to calculate the gene diversity
, mean number of pairwise differences (
otide diversity (
) and ﬁxation indices
Mitochondrial DNA Variation in Asian Shepherd Dogs
O. M. Ryabinina
Vavilov Institute of General Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 119991 Russia;
fax: (495)132-89-62; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received February 6, 2006
—The hypervariable region of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region has been studied in
several guardian dog breeds. The genetic diversity is high in the Central Asian Shepherd Dog and the Northern
Caucasian Volkodav (an native group of breeds) and low in the Caucasian Shepherd Dog. Haplotypes of groups
A, B, C, and E/W have been found in Central Asian Shepherd Dogs; haplotypes of groups A and B, in Caucasian
Shepherd Dogs. The data indicates a gene ﬂow from Scandinavian dog populations to the Northern Caucasus.
The results of the analysis allow the Caucasian Shepherd Dog, Northern Caucasian Volkodav, Central Asian
Shepherd Dog, and the Turkish breeds akbash and kangal to be combined into a single group with an extremely
low degree of differentiation.