Abstract # 865 Poster # 66:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 18, 2005 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: (Cambridge/Oxford Room) Poster Presentation

Genetic Characterization of Rhesus Macaques in Nepal

R. C. Kyes1,2, L. Jones-Engel2, M. K. Chalise3, G. Engel2, J. Heidrich4, R. Grant2, S. S. Bajimaya5, J. McDonough6, D. G. Smith6 and B. Ferguson2,7
1University of Washington, Department of Psychology, Box 357330, Seattle, WA 98195-7330, USA, 2Washington National Primate Research Center, 3Nepal Biodiversity Research Society and Tribhuvan University, 4University of New Mexico School of Medicine, 5Nepal Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, 6University of California, Davis, 7Oregon National Primate Research Center
     Indian-origin rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) have long served as an animal model for the study of human disease and behavior. Given the current shortage of Indian-origin rhesus, many researchers have turned to rhesus macaques from China as a substitute. A number of studies however, have identified marked genetic differences between the Chinese and Indian animals. We investigated the genetic characteristics of a third population, the rhesus macaques of Nepal. Twenty one rhesus macaques at the Swoyambhu Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal were compared to over 300 Indian and Chinese-origin rhesus macaques. The sequence analyses of two mtDNA loci, from the HVS I and 12S rRNA regions, showed that the Nepali animals were more similar to Indian-origin than to Chinese-origin animals. The distribution of alleles at 24 short tandem repeat (STR) loci distributed across 17 chromosomes also showed greater similarity between Nepali and Indian-origin animals. Finally, the analysis of 7 MHC alleles showed that the Nepali animals expressed Class I alleles common to Indian-origin animals, including Mamu-A*01. The analyses also revealed a low level of genetic diversity within this Nepali sample. We conclude that the rhesus macaques of Nepal more closely resemble Indian-origin rather than Chinese-origin rhesus macaques. As such, the Nepali rhesus may offer an additional resource option for researchers wishing to maintain research protocols with animals possessing key genetic features characteristic of Indian-origin rhesus macaques.