An old dog and new tricks: genetic analysis of a Tudor dog recovered from the Mary Rose wreck

George D. Zouganelis, Rob Ogden, Niru Nahar, Valeria Runfola, Maziar Ashrafian Bonab, Arman Ardalan, David R. Radford, Ross Barnett, Greger Larson, Alex Hildred, Mark Jones, Garry Scarlett

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The Tudor warship the Mary Rose sank in the Solent waters between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight on the 19th of July 1545, whilst engaging a French invasion fleet. The ship was rediscovered in 1971 and between 1979 and 1982 the entire contents of the ship were excavated resulting in the recovery of over 25,000 objects, including the skeleton of a small to medium sized dog referred to as the Mary Rose Dog (MRD). Here we report the extraction and analysis of both mitochondrial and genomic DNA from a tooth of this animal. Our results show that the MRD was a young male of a terrier type most closely related to modern Jack Russell Terriers with a light to dark brown coat colour. Interestingly, given the antiquity of the sample, the dog was heterozygotic for the SLC2A9 gene variant that leads to hyperuricosuria when found in modern homozygotic animals. These findings help shed light on a notable historical artefact from an important period in the development of modern dog breeds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-57
JournalForensic Science International
Early online date14 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


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