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Mol Biol Evol. 1996 Sep;13(7):1044-53.

Molecular phylogeny of macaques: implications of nucleotide sequences from an 896-base pair region of mitochondrial DNA.

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Department of Human Genetics, National Institute of Genetics, Mishima, Japan.


We determined the nucleotide sequences of an 896-base pair region of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from 20 primates representing 13 species of macaques, a baboon, and a patas. We compared these sequences and the homologous sequences from four macaques and a human against each other and deduced the phylogenetic relationships of macaques. The results from the phylogenetic analyses revealed five groups among the macaques: (1) Barbary macaque, (2) two species of Sulawesi macaques, (3) Japanese, rhesus, Taiwanese, crab-eating, and stump-tailed macaques, (4) toque, pig-tailed, and lion-tailed macaques, and (5) Assamese and bonnet macaques. The phylogenetic position of Tibetan macaque remains ambiguous as to whether it belongs to the fourth or fifth group. Phylogenetic trees revealed that Barbary macaque diverged first from the other Asian macaques. Subsequently, the four groups of Asian macaques diverged from one another in a relatively short period of time. Within each group, most of the species diverged in a relatively short period of time following the divergence of the groups. Assuming that the Asian macaques diverged from the outgroup Barbary macaque three million years ago (MYA), the divergence times among groups of Asian macaques were estimated at 2.1-2.5 MYA and within groups at 1.4-2.2 MYA. The intraspecific nucleotide diversity observed among three rhesus macaques was so large that they did not form a monophyletic cluster in the phylogenetic trees. Instead, one of them formed a cluster with Japanese and Taiwanese macaques, whereas the other two formed a separate cluster. This implies that either polymorphisms of mtDNA sequences that existed before the divergence of these three species (ca. 700,000 years ago) have been retained in rhesus macaques or introgression has occurred among the three species.

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