Assessment of genetic management at three specific-pathogen-free rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) colonies

Sreetharan Kanthaswamy, David Glenn Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Genetic management is required to maintain genetic diversity by minimizing inbreeding and genetic subdivision in colonies of animals bred for biomedical research. Polymorphic short tandem repeat (STR) loci are useful for genetic management because they facilitate parentage assignments, genetic characterization of individuals, and estimates of baseline population genetic parameters. Using highly informative STR loci, we estimated gene diversity and F-statistics to determine the level of genetic heterogeneity and genetic structure of three specific-pathogen-free (SPF) rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) colonies. Effective population sizes, variance in male reproductive success, and rate of decrease in genetic variability also were estimated for two of the three colonies. We documented the overall success of genetic management in maintaining genetic diversity in captive colonies. We report that even genetically managed SPF colonies, despite maintaining high and stable levels of gene diversity (over 0.75), are prone to genetic subdivision due to different management strategies, founder effects, genetic isolation, and drift. These processes are accelerated by the high variances in male reproductive success and low adult sex ratios that are typical of captive rhesus macaque breeding groups, both of which reduce the effective population sizes of these groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)414-423
Number of pages10
JournalComparative Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Veterinary


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessment of genetic management at three specific-pathogen-free rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) colonies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this