Genetics of adult body mass and maintenance of adult body mass in captive baboons (Papio hamadryas subspecies)

Cashell E. Jaquish, Tom Dyer, Sarah Williams-Blangero, Bennett Dyke, Michelle Leland, John Blangero

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Scopus citations


    Adult body mass and changes in mass during an individual's life are important indicators of general health and reproductive fitness. Therefore, characterization of the factors that influence normal variation in body mass has important implications for colony management and husbandry. The main objective of this study was to quantify the genetic contribution to adult body mass and its maintenance in baboons. Intra-individual mean and variance in body mass were calculated from multiple weight measures available for each of 1,614 animals at least 10 years of age. Heritabilities were estimated using maximum likelihood methods. Mean adult body mass had a significant heritability (50%) as did variance in adult body mass (12%). The sexes differed in several respects: on average females were smaller than males and had greater variability in adult body mass; mean and variance in body mass increased with age in females only; and number of offspring showed a significant positive relationship with body mass in females only. There were significant differences between subspecies in body mass as well as ability to maintain body mass. These results indicate that there is a significant genetic influence on body mass and its maintenance, and suggest that different factors influence changes in body mass with age as well as body mass maintenance in male and female baboons.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)281-288
    Number of pages8
    JournalAmerican Journal of Primatology
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - 1997


    • Baboons
    • Body mass
    • Genetic management
    • Heritability
    • Subspecies

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
    • Animal Science and Zoology


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