Comparison of biochemical polymorphisms and short tandem repeat (STR) DNA markers for paternity testing in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta)

J. J. Ely, M. J. Aivaliotis, B. Kalmin, G. S. Manis, J. L. VandeBerg, W. H. Stone

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Scopus citations


    Genetic markers are indispensable for molecular and statistical genetic research involving nonhuman primates. Genetic markers must be used to ascertain parentage and to confirm the accuracy of pedigrees based solely on housing or demographic records; otherwise, the results of pedigree, linkage, or quantitative genetic analyses may be unreliable. Until recently, most genetic markers used in nonhuman primates were plasma proteins or isozyme polymorphisms, which were required in large numbers, because levels of genetic variation revealed by these markers were rather low. We compared the newer, PCR-amplified short tandem repeat markers (STRs) with a panel of classical biochemical polymorphic markers, for paternity determination among captive-bred rhesus monkeys. The STR markers exhibited an average genetic diversity of 64% and an expected paternity exclusion probability of 0.443. Both of these were greater than the average 54.5% genetic diversity and 0.298 exclusion probability exhibited by the biochemical markers. The STRs were much more efficient than the biochemical markers for parentage determination, since they required only half the amount of genetic typing data to resolve an average paternity case. Thus, the results of applying these two classes of genetic markers in paternity tests were somewhat different than expected on the basis of theoretical exclusion probabilities. These differences were probably due to inbreeding and other genetic differences among breeding colonies. Because they are more informative and provide rapid and efficient genetic data, STRs are now the method of choice for parentage determination and pedigree corroboration among nonhuman primates.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)323-334
    Number of pages12
    JournalBiochemical Genetics
    Issue number11-12
    StatePublished - 1999


    • Biochemical polymorphisms
    • Nonhuman primates
    • Paternity testing
    • Short tandem repeats

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
    • Biochemistry
    • Molecular Biology
    • Genetics


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