Research Article

Allele frequencies and genetic diversity in two groups of wild tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella nigritus) living in an urban forest fragment

Published: December 30, 2005
Genet. Mol. Res. 4 (4) : 832-838

Abstract

There have been numerous studies genetically characterizing Old World Primates using microsatellites. However, few studies have been made of New World species and none on free-ranging Cebus apella, even though it is probably the most widely distributed species of monkey in the New World. The paucity of studies is due, in part, to the lack of polymorphisms described for this species. We studied two groups of wild tufted capuchins, Cebus apella nigritus, which inhabit Mata Santa Teresa, the Ecological Reserve of Ribeirão Preto, a 158-ha forest fragment in a semi-urban zone of Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil. Group 1 had about 60 animals, 35 of which were sampled, and group 2 had about 40 animals, 20 of which were sampled. These group sizes are much larger than the published reports of 6-30 for this species, despite, or perhaps due to the isolation and the size of the forest fragment. Allele PEPC59*1 was the most frequent of all alleles at all loci in both groups (55.7 and 55%), allele PEPC8*1 was the most common allele in group 2 (46.9%) and PEPC8*4 in group 1 (41.1%), allele PEPC3*2 was the most common in group 1 (35.7%) and allele PEPC3*4 in group 2 (31.6%). The genetic diversity, considering each locus in each group, varied from 61.9% at locus PEPC59 to 78.6% at locus PEPC3, both in group 1. The mean genetic diversity (HS), considering both groups for all of the loci, was 71.1%. The inter-group diversity (FST) was 1.9%, indicating that these groups belong to the same population. These groups apparently have a high genetic diversity, despite their isolation in a limited forest fragment, although more data are needed to adequately characterize this population.

There have been numerous studies genetically characterizing Old World Primates using microsatellites. However, few studies have been made of New World species and none on free-ranging Cebus apella, even though it is probably the most widely distributed species of monkey in the New World. The paucity of studies is due, in part, to the lack of polymorphisms described for this species. We studied two groups of wild tufted capuchins, Cebus apella nigritus, which inhabit Mata Santa Teresa, the Ecological Reserve of Ribeirão Preto, a 158-ha forest fragment in a semi-urban zone of Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil. Group 1 had about 60 animals, 35 of which were sampled, and group 2 had about 40 animals, 20 of which were sampled. These group sizes are much larger than the published reports of 6-30 for this species, despite, or perhaps due to the isolation and the size of the forest fragment. Allele PEPC59*1 was the most frequent of all alleles at all loci in both groups (55.7 and 55%), allele PEPC8*1 was the most common allele in group 2 (46.9%) and PEPC8*4 in group 1 (41.1%), allele PEPC3*2 was the most common in group 1 (35.7%) and allele PEPC3*4 in group 2 (31.6%). The genetic diversity, considering each locus in each group, varied from 61.9% at locus PEPC59 to 78.6% at locus PEPC3, both in group 1. The mean genetic diversity (HS), considering both groups for all of the loci, was 71.1%. The inter-group diversity (FST) was 1.9%, indicating that these groups belong to the same population. These groups apparently have a high genetic diversity, despite their isolation in a limited forest fragment, although more data are needed to adequately characterize this population.

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