What brings new species into existence?

For those of you who have, or have had, a dog as a pet, its origins are of great interest. It has long been assumed that, because dogs can interbreed with wolves and produce fertile offspring, that dogs have evolved from wolves. Since 2000, when effective DNA sequencing was first developed, the origin of the dog has been one of the many thousands of research projects that have been undertaken.

What has been puzzling, though, is that the first research projects clearly established the origin as the grey wolf which iives in north western Europe. Some years later, however, other researches showed that dogs derived from a wolf which had a slightly different DNA composition and lived in south-east Asia.

In a large collaborative study involving DNA samples of wolves in different parts of the world — wolves being able to live in almost as many different environments as man — the lead author, of the Wellcome Trust Palaeogenomics & Bio-Archaeology Research Network at Oxford University, Professor Greger Larson, has established that both origins are correct.

This necessarily means that men selected wolf offspring on two entirely separate occasions, thousands of years apart at two opposite ends of Europe-Asia land mass? This begs a deeper question — How is it that none of the dog types that have been bred for different reasons have not yet been able to establish themselves as separate species? This poses yet another deeper mystery which modern biology has not yet been able to explain — What are those genes which enable a new species to actually come into existence?

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