Mitogenomic phylogeny of Callithrix with special focus on human transferred taxa

Joanna Malukiewicz, Reed A. Cartwright, Nelson H.A. Curi, Jorge A. Dergam, Claudia S. Igayara, Silvia B. Moreira, Camila V. Molina, Patricia A. Nicola, Angela Noll, Marcello Passamani, Luiz C.M. Pereira, Alcides Pissinatti, Carlos R. Ruiz-Miranda, Daniel L. Silva, Anne C. Stone, Dietmar Zinner, Christian Roos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Callithrix marmosets are a relatively young primate radiation, whose phylogeny is not yet fully resolved. These primates are naturally para- and allopatric, but three species with highly invasive potential have been introduced into the southeastern Brazilian Atlantic Forest by the pet trade. There, these species hybridize with each other and endangered, native congeners. We aimed here to reconstruct a robust Callithrix phylogeny and divergence time estimates, and identify the biogeographic origins of autochthonous and allochthonous Callithrix mitogenome lineages. We sequenced 49 mitogenomes from four species (C. aurita, C. geoffroyi, C. jacchus, C. penicillata) and anthropogenic hybrids (C. aurita x Callithrix sp., C. penicillata x C. jacchus, Callithrix sp. x Callithrix sp., C. penicillata x C. geoffroyi) via Sanger and whole genome sequencing. We combined these data with previously published Callithrix mitogenomes to analyze five Callithrix species in total. Results: We report the complete sequence and organization of the C. aurita mitogenome. Phylogenetic analyses showed that C. aurita was the first to diverge within Callithrix 3.54 million years ago (Ma), while C. jacchus and C. penicillata lineages diverged most recently 0.5 Ma as sister clades. MtDNA clades of C. aurita, C. geoffroyi, and C. penicillata show intraspecific geographic structure, but C. penicillata clades appear polyphyletic. Hybrids, which were identified by phenotype, possessed mainly C. penicillata or C. jacchus mtDNA haplotypes. The biogeographic origins of mtDNA haplotypes from hybrid and allochthonous Callithrix were broadly distributed across natural Callithrix ranges. Our phylogenetic results also evidence introgression of C. jacchus mtDNA into C. aurita. Conclusion: Our robust Callithrix mitogenome phylogeny shows C. aurita lineages as basal and C. jacchus lineages among the most recent within Callithrix. We provide the first evidence that parental mtDNA lineages of anthropogenic hybrid and allochthonous marmosets are broadly distributed inside and outside of the Atlantic Forest. We also show evidence of cryptic hybridization between allochthonous Callithrix and autochthonous C. aurita. Our results encouragingly show that further development of genomic resources will allow to more clearly elucidate Callithrix evolutionary relationships and understand the dynamics of Callithrix anthropogenic introductions into the Brazilian Atlantic Forest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number239
JournalBMC Genomics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Atlantic forest
  • Brazil
  • Callitrichidae
  • Divergence
  • Marmoset
  • Primate
  • mtDNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics


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