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Mol Biol Rep. 2013 Apr;40(4):3033-41. doi: 10.1007/s11033-012-2377-2. Epub 2012 Dec 27.

Genetic diversity and population structure in wild Sichuan rhesus macaques.

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College of Animal Science and Technology, Sichuan Agricultural University, Ya'an 625014, People's Republic of China.


Because wild rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) populations have suffered major declines, there is a growing need to characterize their genetic and population structure in order to protect the genetic integrity of this species. In this study, we genotyped a sample comprising 120 wild rhesus macaques from six sites in Sichuan Province for 30 nuclear microsatellite (STR) loci using an ABI 3130xl genetic analyzer. Bayesian analyses and PCA clearly differentiated monkeys from Heishui from those at other sites. The samples from all six sites exhibited high gene diversity suggesting that the Sichuan wild rhesus macaque populations are not threatened by a lack of genetic diversity. Deviation from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium was more frequent in the Danba and Heishui populations. This may be due to the more fragmented habitat and less disturbance by humans in this area that foster greater subpopulation structuring than occurs in eastern China. We suggest that this population subdivision is the result of both long-term geographic barriers and human activity.

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