Population genetic structure of the cayo santiago colony of rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)

Sreetharan Kanthaswamy, Robert F. Oldt, Jillian Ng, Angelina V. Ruiz-Lambides, Elizabeth Maldonado, Melween I. Martínez, Carlos A. Sariol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The rhesus macaque population at Cayo Santiago increases annually and is in urgent need of control. In-depth assessments of the colony's population genetic and pedigree structures provide a starting point for improving the colony's long-term management program. We evaluated the degree of genetic variation and coefficients of inbreeding and kinship of the Cayo Santiago colony by using pedigree and short tandem repeat (STR) data from 4738 rhesus macaques, which represent 7 extant social groups and a group of migrant males. Information on each animal's parentage, sex, birth date, and date of death or removal from the island were used to generate estimates of mean kinship, kinship value, gene value, genome uniqueness (GU), founder equivalents (fe), and founder genome equivalents (fg). Pedigree and STR analyses revealed that the social groups have not differentiated genetically from each other due to male-mediated gene flow (that is, FST estimates were in the negative range) and exhibit sufficient genetic variation, with mean estimates of allele numbers and observed and expected heterozygosity of 6.57, 0.72, and 0.70, respectively. Estimates of GU, fe, and fg show that a high effective number of founders has affected the colony's current genetic structure in a positive manner. As demographic changes occur, genetic and pedigree matrices need to be monitored consistently to ensure the health and wellbeing of the Cayo Santiago colony.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)396-401
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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