, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 49-61

Chimaeric and constitutive DNA fingerprints in the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus)

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Abstract

Marmosets normally produce dizygotic twins sharing placental blood vessels and exchanging bone marrow cells. Each individual is therefore likely to be a blood chimaera. To date, marmosets had only been DNA fingerprinted using blood samples and probes 33.6 and 33.15, resulting in highly similar fingerprints among litter mates and little variation between other individuals, thereby limiting this method's use for individual identification and parentage testing. In this study, novel probes were applied to detect greater polymorphism and to produce individual-specific DNA fingerprints. As expected, blood DNA profiles of twins and triplets were virtually identical, confirming chimaerism in this tissue and identifying litter mates. Furthermore, these profiles were sufficiently variable to distinguish between sibs from different litters and between all other individuals. To produce individual-specific DNA fingerprints, the use of DNA extracted from tissues poor in leukocytes was essential. The findings demonstrate that, despite extensive blood chimaerism, marmoset colonies can be effectively DNA fingerprinted for indicidual identification, zygosity testing, and relationship studies.