Abstract # 29:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 17, 2006 11:30 AM-11:50 AM: Session 3 (Regency East #3) Oral Presentation

Miracle Max: The Phenomenal Outcomes of the Infant Monkey Miracle-Worker

A. M. Dettmer
Neuroscience and Behavior Program, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA
     In the 30 years that Gerry Ruppenthal supervised the Infant Primate Research Laboratory (IPRL), he enabled the survival of some of the most remarkable infant monkeys ever studied. Here I present data on five high-risk pigtailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina) and three high-risk rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) born with extreme chromosomal and developmental abnormalities, or born at very low birth weights and gestational ages. These high-risk births include trisomy 16, trisomy X, mosaic variegated trisomy, intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), and extreme prematurity. While some of these infants displayed gross physical abnormalities, such as a cleft lip and palate and situs inversus of the heart, and significant mental retardation and developmental delays, others have developed quite normally and all cases survived for at least a few years. Their survival has been dependent on 24-hour intensive care, which occurs only at the IPRL. Many of these cases represent homologues to human chromosomal abnormalities, and all cases have served as rare yet excellent models of human infant at-risk births. Without the techniques developed by Gerry Ruppenthal at the IPRL, the comprehensive study of these invaluable models of high-risk human infant development would not have been possible. As such we have been able to gain insights into some genetic and developmental differences between human and non-human primates.