Abstract # 120:

Scheduled for Friday, June 21, 2013 11:35 AM-11:50 AM: Session 14 (San Geronimo Ballroom C) Oral Presentation


THE ST KITTS VERVET: GENETIC STUDIES AND GENOMIC POSSIBILITIES

R. M. Palmour1,2, F. R. Ervin1,2 and J. Fainman1
1McGill University , Departments of Psychiatry and Human Genetics, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1A1, USA, 2Behavioural Science Foundation, St Kitts
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     The vervet monkey is adaptable, opportunistic and everywhere non-endangered, with high sequence homology to man and other primates. Chlorocebus sabeus St Kitts is distinguished from African progenitors by its nearly pristine virological profile, and is thus an ideal species for biomedical and behavioral genetic studies. Initiated in 1976 by FR Ervin, our breeding colony numbers about 5000 individuals historically, with a stable census of around 1200 monkeys, all living in outdoor, provisioned, social groups. Familial traits range from benign (facial shape, pellage, scrotal color) to life-threatening (spontaneous forms of hypertension, maturity-onset obesity, osteoporosis and an Alzheimer-like dementia). In recent years, inherited susceptibility to alcohol abuse has been an important focus. Using neurochemical measures that predict high alcohol preference, we have identified brain differences between high and low responders in signal transduction pathways and neurosynaptic development. These findings are congruent with human linkage studies identifying multiple genes of small-to-moderate effect. It is noteworthy that, despite being isolated from other populations since the mid-1600’s, there is sufficient genetic variability in the St Kitts vervet to support such investigations. An annotated sequence for the vervet monkey has been promised by the time of this symposium (http://www.genomequebec.mcgill.ca/compgen/vervet_research/genomics_genetics/), but even in the absence of this valuable tool, researchers are able to use the rhesus sequence and expression chips to interrogate any desired region of the vervet genome.