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Gene. 1997 Dec 31;205(1-2):59-71.

Sequences of the primate epsilon-globin gene: implications for systematics of the marmosets and other New World primates.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.


Sequences of the epsilon-globin gene were determined for five species of marmosets, along with approximately 2 kb of 5' flanking sequence. An analysis of these data, compared with those of other primates strongly supports the classification of Callithrix jacchus and C. geoffroyi into the jacchus group, and C. argentata and C. mauesi into the argentata group. The pygmy marmoset, formerly identified as Cebuella pygmaea joined strongly to the argentata group, indicating that without the pygmy marmoset the genus Callithrix would be paraphyletic. Our data support recent studies which indicate that C. pygmaea should be included in the genus Callithrix. Relationships among other primates were as indicated by previous studies of epsilon-globin sequences. Divergence times were estimated according to a local molecular clock. These calculations indicated the divergence of C. mauesi and C. argentata to be approximately 1.6-1.9 Myr (million years ago), and the most recent common ancestor of the marmosets to be between 4.5 and 4.7 Myr. The latter estimate corresponds well to the date of 4.6 Myr calculated from an independent data set.

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