Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Phys Anthropol. 2011 Oct;146(2):209-24. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.21567. Epub 2011 Aug 8.

mtDNA diversity in Azara's owl monkeys (Aotus azarai azarai) of the Argentinean Chaco.

Author information

Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6398, USA.


Owl monkeys (Aotus spp.) inhabit much of South America yet represent an enigmatic evolutionary branch among primates. While morphological, cytogenetic, and immunological evidence suggest that owl monkey populations have undergone isolation and diversification since their emergence in the New World, problems with adjacent species ranges, and sample provenance have complicated efforts to characterize genetic variation within the genus. As a result, the phylogeographic history of owl monkey species and subspecies remains unclear, and the extent of genetic diversity at the population level is unknown. To explore these issues, we analyzed mitochondrial DNA (mt DNA) variation in a population of wild Azara's owl monkeys (Aotus azarai azarai) living in the Gran Chaco region of Argentina. We sequenced the complete mitochondrial genome from one individual (16,585 base pairs (bp)) and analyzed 1,099 bp of the hypervariable control region (CR) and 696 bp of the cytochrome oxidase II (COII) gene in 117 others. In addition, we sequenced the mitochondrial genome (16,472 bp) of one Nancy Ma's owl monkey (A. nancymaae). Based on the whole mtDNA and COII data, we observed an ancient phylogeographic discontinuity among Aotus species living north, south, and west of the Amazon River that began more than eight million years ago. Our population analyses identified three major CR lineages and detected a high level of haplotypic diversity within A. a. azarai. These data point to a recent expansion of Azara's owl monkeys into the Argentinean Chaco. Overall, we provide a detailed view of owl monkey mtDNA variation at genus, species, and population levels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center