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Am J Primatol. 2011 Feb;73(2):189-96. doi: 10.1002/ajp.20890. Epub 2010 Oct 11.

Characterization of opsin gene alleles affecting color vision in a wild population of titi monkeys (Callicebus brunneus).

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Department of Anthropology, University of California-Davis, California, USA.


The color vision of most platyrrhine primates is determined by alleles at the polymorphic X-linked locus coding for the opsin responsible for the middle- to long-wavelength (M/L) cone photopigment. Females who are heterozygous at the locus have trichromatic vision, whereas homozygous females and all males are dichromatic. This study characterized the opsin alleles in a wild population of the socially monogamous platyrrhine monkey Callicebus brunneus (the brown titi monkey), a primate that an earlier study suggests may possess an unusual number of alleles at this locus and thus may be a subject of special interest in the study of primate color vision. Direct sequencing of regions of the M/L opsin gene using feces-, blood-, and saliva-derived DNA obtained from 14 individuals yielded evidence for the presence of three functionally distinct alleles, corresponding to the most common M/L photopigment variants inferred from a physiological study of cone spectral sensitivity in captive Callicebus.

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