Abstract # 4541 Poster # 66:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 20, 2013 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 9 (SG Foyer ABC) Poster Presentation


INFANT CROSS-FOSTERING IN RHESUS MACAQUES (MACACA MULATTA): A PILOT STUDY FOR INTRODUCING NEW GENES INTO ESTABLISHED CAPTIVE SOCIAL GROUPS

F. Martinez-Sosa1,3,4, C. Escabi Ruiz1 and A. Ruiz-Lambides1,2
1Caribbean Primate Research Center, PO BOX 1053, Sabana Seca 00952, USA, 2Junior Research Group of Primate Kin Selection, Department of Primatology, Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, 3Biology Department of the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus, 4Institute of Neurobiology of Puerto Rico, University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus
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     Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) are xenophobic primates; thus introduction of unfamiliar individuals to an established captive social group can elicit intense aggression resulting in death. An alternative for introduction of unfamiliar individuals without altering the cohesion of the group can be cross-fostering (i.e. an exchange of infants between two unrelated and unfamiliar mothers). Our pilot study had two purposes 1) to develop a cross-fostering protocol 2) investigate if cross-fostered mother-infant dyads engage in typical mother-infant interactions. Cross-fostering was performed on 8 mother-infant dyads, 6 dyads were successfully cross-fostered, the experimental group. For behavioral comparison, we gathered frequencies per session of affiliative, abusive and non-interactive behaviors between the mother-infant dyads from a control group (n=6). Nine hours of continuous behavioral data were recorded per dyad. Data was recorded three times a week during four consecutive weeks, 108 hours total. Two-Way ANOVA was used to compare between experimental (cross-fostered) and control (non-cross-fostered) mother infant dyads. We found that cross-fostered mother-infant dyads engaged in typical mother-infant interactions (p<0.05). Overall success rate of cross-fostering in our study was of 75%. Age of infant was a determining factor in the success of the protocol. Given our findings cross-fostering procedures can be implemented as means to introduce new genes into established social groups in captive settings.