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Metabolomics shows the Australian dingo has a unique plasma profile

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posted on 2021-07-02, 05:15 authored by S Yadav, R Pickford, RA Zammit, John Ballard
Dingoes occupy a wide range of the Australian mainland and play a crucial role as an apex predator with a generalist omnivorous feeding behaviour. Dingoes are ecologically, phenotypically and behaviourally distinct from modern breed dogs and have not undergone artificial selection since their arrival in Australia. In contrast, humans have selected breed dogs for novel and desirable traits. First, we examine whether the distinct evolutionary histories of dingoes and domestic dogs has lead to differences in plasma metabolomes. We study metabolite composition differences between dingoes (n = 15) and two domestic dog breeds (Basenji n = 9 and German Shepherd Dog (GSD) n = 10). Liquid chromatography mass spectrometry, type II and type III ANOVA with post-hoc tests and adjustments for multiple comparisons were used for data evaluation. After accounting for within group variation, 62 significant metabolite differences were detected between dingoes and domestic dogs, with the majority of differences in protein (n = 14) and lipid metabolites (n = 12), mostly lower in dingoes. Most differences were observed between dingoes and domestic dogs and fewest between the domestic dog breeds. Next, we collect a second set of data to investigate variation between pure dingoes (n = 10) and dingo-dog hybrids (n = 10) as hybridisation is common in regional Australia. We detected no significant metabolite differences between dingoes and dingo-dog hybrids after Bonferroni correction. However, power analysis showed that increasing the sample size to 15 could result in differences in uridine 5′-diphosphogalactose (UDPgal) levels related to galactose metabolism. We suggest this may be linked to an increase in Amylase 2B copy number in hybrids. Our study illustrates that the dingo metabolome is significantly different from domestic dog breeds and hybridisation is likely to influence carbohydrate metabolism.


We thank Lucille Ellem from Bargo Dingo Sanctuary, Ivan & Sonya Pacek from Kingvale Kennels, Jennifer Power from Zanzipow kennels, and Tony Crocker for providing samples for the study. William Donald (UNSW) provided constructive inputs. Mass spectrometric results were obtained at the Bioanalytical Mass Spectrometry Facility within the Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre of the University of New South Wales. This work was undertaken using infrastructure provided by NSW Government co-investment in the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme (NCRIS) subsidised access to this facility is gratefully acknowledged. The project was funded by Australian Research Council Discovery Project DP150102038.


Publication Date



Scientific Reports





Article Number

ARTN 5245







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