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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2007 Mar;42(3):807-16. Epub 2006 Nov 26.

Molecular phylogeny and evolutionary history of Southeast Asian macaques forming the M. silenus group.

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  • 1Department of Reproductive Biology, German Primate Centre, Kellnerweg 4, 37077 Göttingen, Germany.


The 12 presently recognized taxa forming the Macaca silenus group represent the most diverse lineage within the genus Macaca. The present study was set up to clarify the phylogenetic relationships of the extant members of the M. silenus group and to explain their geographical distribution patterns seen today. A combined approach involving the analysis of one paternal (TSPY) and two maternal (cyt b and 12S-16S rRNA) molecular markers enabled us to resolve the phylogenetic relationships within this lineage. Our Y chromosomal marker is not informative enough to allow detailed conclusion. Based on our mitochondrial data, however, M. pagensis, endemic to the three southern Mentawai islands (Sipora, North- and South Pagai), split off early (2.4-2.6 mya) and represents a sister clade to the macaques from the northern Mentawai island of Siberut and from those of the Southeast Asian mainland, which diverged in a radiation-like splitting event about 1.5-1.7 mya. By combining our new results with available data on behavioural as well as climate and sea level changes in Southeast Asia during the Plio- and Pleistocene, we have developed two scenarios for the evolutionary history of this primate group, which may help explain the current geographical distribution of its members.

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