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Highly polymorphic microsatellite markers for the assessment of male reproductive skew and genetic variation in Critically Endangered crested macaques (Macaca nigra)

Engelhardt, A, Muniz, L, Perwitasari-Farajallah, D and Widdig, A (2017) Highly polymorphic microsatellite markers for the assessment of male reproductive skew and genetic variation in Critically Endangered crested macaques (Macaca nigra). International Journal of Primatology, 38 (4). pp. 672-691. ISSN 1573-8604

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Genetic analyses based on non-invasively collected samples have become an important tool for evolutionary biology and conservation. Crested macaques (Macaca nigra), endemic to Sulawesi, Indonesia, are important for our understanding of primate evolution as Sulawesi macaques represent an exceptional example of primate adaptive radiation. Crested macaques are also Critically Endangered. However, to date we know very little about their genetics. The aim of our study was to find and validate microsatellite markers useful for evolutionary, conservation and other genetic studies on wild crested macaques. Using faecal samples of 176 wild macaques living in the Tangkoko Reserve, Sulawesi, we identified 12 polymorphic microsatellite loci through cross-species PCR amplification with later modification of some of these primers. We tested their suitability by investigating and exploring patterns of paternity, observed heterozygosity and evidence for inbreeding. We assigned paternity to 63 of 65 infants with high confidence. Among cases with solved paternity, we found no evidence of extra-group paternity and natal breeding. We found a relatively steep male reproductive skew B index of 0.330±0.267; mean±SD) and mean alpha paternity of 65% per year with large variation across groups and years (29-100%). Finally, we detected an excess in observed heterozygosity and no evidence of inbreeding across our three study groups, with an observed heterozygosity of 0.766±0.059 and expected heterozygosity of 0.708±0.059, and an inbreeding coefficient of -0.082±0.035. Our results indicate that the selected markers are useful for genetic studies on wild crested macaques, and possible also other Sulawesi and closely related macaques. They further suggest that the Tangkoko population of crested macaques is still genetically variable despite its small size, isolation and the species’ reproductive patterns. This gives us hope that other endangered primate species living in small, isolated populations may also retain a healthy gene pool, at least in the short term.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10764-017-9973-x
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0608 Zoology
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Date Deposited: 22 May 2017 10:25
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 03:57
DOI or ID number: 10.1007/s10764-017-9973-x
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6550
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