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2021 was a great year for dog lovers and dog scientists alike. In our 2021 year in review, we dive into some of the big moments that happened in dog genetics this year. 

Scientists made lots of discoveries about dog DNA, like the first Basenji dog genome, how puppies are wired to respond to humans, and the truth about dingoes in Australia. But there’s so much more—like what dire wolves were like, the mysteries of coat color, and some big discoveries that might help us prevent disease in dogs.

A glimpse into the lives of ancient dogs and wolves

Scientists uncovered a lot of new information about ancient dogs in 2021.

Do you remember dire wolves from the hit TV show Game of Thrones? Well, they were real. Scientists sequenced the entire dire wolf genome in 2021. And what they found was a surprise! It turns out dire wolves are not just a different species—they are an entirely different genus (one category bigger than species). The dire wolf is the only species in that genus.

Fun fact: Did you know that the two dogs who played the dire wolves on Game of Thrones were Embark tested? See Odin and Thor’s Embark results and learn more about the history of dire wolves.

Dire wolves split off from other canids about 5.7 million years ago. They were genetically isolated and did not interbreed with wolves, dogs, or other species. Scientists also suggest…

2021 Year in Review: Discoveries in Dog Science. Retrieved December 14, 2021 from

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