A genetic linkage map of the vervet monkey (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus)
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The spectacular progress in genomics increasingly highlights the importance of comparative biology in biomedical research. In particular, nonhuman primates, as model systems, provide a crucial intermediate between humans and mice. The close similarities between humans and other primates are stimulating primate studies in virtually every area of biomedical research, including development, anatomy, physiology, immunology, and behavior. The vervet monkey (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus) is an important model for studying human diseases and complex traits, especially behavior. We have developed a vervet genetic linkage map to enable mapping complex traits in this model organism and facilitate comparative genomic analysis between vervet and other primates. Here we report construction of an initial genetic map built with about 360 human orthologous short tandem repeats (STRs) that were genotyped in 434 members of an extended vervet pedigree. The map includes 226 markers mapped in a unique order with a resolution of 9.8 Kosambi centimorgans (cM) in the vervet monkey genome, and with a total length (including all 360 markers) of 2726 cM. At least one complex and 11 simple rearrangements in marker order distinguish vervet chromosomes from human homologs. While inversions and insertions can explain a similar number of changes in marker order between vervet and rhesus homologs, mostly inversions are observed when vervet chromosome organization is compared to that in human and chimpanzee. Our results support the notion that large inversions played a less prominent role in the evolution within the group of the Old World monkeys compared to the human and chimpanzee lineages.
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