Background: Approximately 800,000 primarily feral dogs live on the small island of Bali. To analyze the genetic diversity in this population, forty samples were collected at random from dogs in the Denpasar, Bali region and tested using 31 polymorphic microsatellites. Australian dingoes and 28 American Kennel Club breeds were compared to the Bali Street Dog (BSD) for allelic diversity, heterozygosities, F-statistics, GST estimates, Nei's DA distance and phylogenetic relationships. Results: The BSD proved to be the most heterogeneous, exhibiting 239 of the 366 total alleles observed across all groups and breeds and had an observed heterozygosity of 0.692. Thirteen private alleles were observed in the BSD with an additional three alleles observed only in the BSD and the Australian dingo. The BSD was related most closely to the Chow Chow with a FST of 0.088 and also with high bootstrap support to the Australian dingo and Akita in the phylogenetic analysis. Conclusions: This preliminary study into the diversity and relationship of the BSD to other domestic and feral dog populations shows the BSD to be highly heterogeneous and related to populations of East Asian origin. These results indicate that a viable and diverse population of dogs existed on the island of Bali prior to its geographic isolation approximately 12,000 years ago and has been little influenced by domesticated European dogs since that time.
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