Simple sequence repeat (SSR) polymorphisms for colony management and population genetics in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)

Phillip A. Morin, Sreetharan Kanthaswamy, David Glenn Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Cross-species amplification of 72 SSR (predominantly tetranucleotide) loci from the DNA of six rhesus macaques of diverse regional origins was conducted using human primers for the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Thirteen of these primer pairs, which consistently and unambiguously amplified polymorphic fragments from these six samples and which exhibited Mendelian properties, were also used to amplify SSR loci for 176 male rhesus macaques that are founders of six different captive breeding colonies. These include four groups of macaques originating in India and one group of macaques each that originated in China and Thailand. Gene diversity based on the SSR loci provided a reliable estimate of average heterozygosity but was between two and four times higher than that for 9 protein coding loci. Based on the SSR loci, Chinese rhesus were more genetically diverse and unique than were rhesus from India or Thailand, a conclusion not consistent with data based on protein coding loci. The six most informative SSR loci are unlinked and provide probabilities of single parent exclusion and genetic identity exceeding 0.99 and one in one million, respectively, both of which are reasonable standards for colony management purposes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-213
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Primatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Genetic identity
  • Genetic management
  • Heterozygosity
  • Microsatellite
  • Paternity exclusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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