The genetic demography of a chimpanzee colony

S. Williams‐Blangero, J. W. Eichberg, B. Dyke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Chimpanzees used for biomedical research must be bred in captivity because of restrictions on importation. Because they are large and expensive animals, population sizes at breeding facilities are limited. This implies that inbreeding at some level is inevitable and that genetic management techniques should be employed to minimize matings between related individuals. The purpose of this paper is to consider the genetic history of the chimpanzee colony at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research (SFBR) and to suggest ways in which genetic variability may be affected by management schemes. A total of 339 chimpanzees resided at SFBR between January, 1980, and January, 1990. Although only one mating between related individuals has occurred so far, the average level of kinship in the colony and between potential breeders is increasing. Population structure techniques were employed to assess the mating patterns which have occurred and to explore the degree of change in the characteristics of potential mates. A “gene dropping” simulation method was used to predict expected levels of heterozygosity and strategies for maintaining variability by increasing the breeding portion of the population were evaluated using a simulation approach. © 1995 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-83
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Primatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • colony management
  • Pan
  • population genetics
  • simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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