Effects of inbreeding on infant mortality in captive primates

  • Katherine Rails
  • Jonathan Ballou


Breeding records for 16 primate colonies representing six families and both suborders were obtained from 10 institutions breeding primates in captivity and from the international studbook on one endangered species. Inbreeding coefficients relative to the founding population were calculated for each individual born. Individuals with an inbreeding coefficient of zero were classified as “noninbred” those with inbreeding coefficients greater than zero, as “inbred.” Infant mortality was defined as all deaths prior to the age of 6 months. Infant mortality of inbred young was higher than that of noninbred young in 15 of the 16 colonies surveyed (P =0.0003, one-tailed sign test). The higher mortality rate of the inbred young was significant by a Fisher’s exact test with a probability less than or equal to 0.05 in five of the individual colonies: Lemur fulvus, Saguinus fuscicollis illigeri, Saguinus fuscicollis, Leontopithecus rosalia,and Mandrillus sphinx.

Key words

inbreeding infant mortality primates genetics 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine Rails
    • 1
  • Jonathan Ballou
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Zoological ResearchNational Zoological Park, Smithsonian InstitutionWashington, D.C.

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