, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 587-605

Phylogeny of rheusus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) as revealed by mitochondrial DNA restriction enzyme analysis

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Abstract

Mitochondrial DNA, purified from 36 samples of 23 local populations which are widely distributed in Vietnam, Burma, and 10 provinces of China, has been analyzed to model the phylogeny of rhesus monkeys. The 20 local populations of China may represent nearly all major populations in China. Using 20 restriction endonucleases of 6-bp recognition, we observed a total of 50–61 sites in the various samples. By combining the cleavage patterns for each enzyme, the 36 samples were classified into 23 restriction types, each of which was found exclusively in the respective population from which samples were obtained. By combining the earlier study of Indian rheusus monkeys, phylogenetic trees, which have been constructed on the basis of genetic distance, indicate that rhesus monkeys in China, Vietnam, India, and Burma can be divided into seven groups. Integrating morphological and geographical data, we suggest that rhesus monkeys in China, Vietnam, and Burma may be classified into six subspecies—M. m. mulatta, M. m. brevicaudus, M. m. lasiotis, M. m. littoralis, M. m. vestita, and M. m. tcheliensis-and rhesus monkeys in India may be another valid subspecies.M. m. tcheliensis is the most endangered subspecies in China. Divergence among subspecies may have begun 0.9–1.6 Ma. The radiation of rhesus monkeys in China may have spread from the southwest toward the east. The taxonomic status of the Hainan monkey and the Taiwan monkey require further investigation.