Kelsey Witt

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Illinois, Urbana, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9254

Approve Date

April 8, 2016

Project Title

Witt, Kelsey E., U. of Illinois, Urbana, IL - To aid research on 'Using Ancient Dog DNA to Test Models of Human Migration History,' supervised by Dr. Ripan S. Malhi

Preliminary abstract: Given their close relationship with humans, dogs are likely an excellent genetic proxy to use when examining human migration history. Dogs migrated with humans to the Americas, and so studying their population history can show insights about Native American population history as well. Recent genomic studies of Native Americans have yielded differing conclusions about the source population that peopled the Americas, and whether it was a single, homogeneous source population or multiple populations contributing to Native American diversity. It is possible that dogs arrived to the Americas much later than the initial human peopling, which suggests that multiple source populations may have contributed to modern-day Native American populations. I have access to dog remains from the American Midwest, Southwest, and Southeast, California, British Columbia, Ohio, Panama and Mexico. I will sequence complete mitocondrial genomes of dog remains from multiple archaeological sites and time periods in the Americas to study dog population history in the Americas. I will use the DNA sequences and radiocarbon dates of the dogs in each population to model their population history through time and estimate when dogs entered the Americas. If dogs entered the Americas after 15,000 ybp, this supports the idea of a later period of human movement into the Americas than the initial peopling.