Genomic regions under selection in the feralization of the dingoes.
Dingoes are wild canids living in Australia, originating from domestic dogs. They have lived isolated from both the wild and the domestic ancestor, making them a unique model for studying feralization. Here, we sequence the genomes of 10 dingoes and 2 New Guinea Singing Dogs. Phylogenetic and demographic analyses show that dingoes originate from dogs in southern East Asia, which migrated via Island Southeast Asia to reach Australia around 8300 years ago, and subsequently diverged into a genetically distinct population. Selection analysis identifies 50 positively selected genes enriched in digestion and metabolism, indicating a diet change during feralization of dingoes. Thirteen of these genes have shifted allele frequencies compared to dogs but not compared to wolves. Functional assays show that an A-to-G mutation in ARHGEF7 decreases the endogenous expression, suggesting behavioral adaptations related to the transitions in environment. Our results indicate that the feralization of the dingo induced positive selection on genomic regions correlated to neurodevelopment, metabolism and reproduction, in adaptation to a wild environment.