Consequences of a One-male Harem Reproductive System and Inbreeding in a Captive Group of Cercopithecus solatus
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In closed captive populations, where dispersal is not possible, kin recognition and behavioral avoidance are the only mechanisms by which closely related individuals can avoid inbreeding. In the absence of avoidance, a loss of genetic diversity is inevitable in successive generations.
In the 1980s, the CIRMF in Gabon established a small breeding group of sun-tailed monkeys (Cercopithecus solatus) with 4 individuals, and subsequently 17 births have been registered. We aimed to describe via microsatellite genotyping the reproductive system in the colony of Cercopithecus solatus, to evaluate the loss of genetic diversity with succeeding generations, and to evaluate consequences of inbreeding depression on a measure of the lifespan reproductive success of females giving birth to inbred vs. noninbred offspring. During the 11-yr period for which data are available, only alpha males sired offspring, confirming a one-male social organization. They reproduced only during their period of tenure. Two of the 3 alpha males were responsible for all the infants born. Genetic diversity decreased and inbreeding coefficients increased with successive generations. Interbirth interval was increased following the birth of an inbred infant, indicating possible increased maternal costs of rearing inbred infants. Loss of genetic variability in this captive group of sun-tailed monkeys has led to significant inbreeding depression and demonstrates the importance of male-mediated gene flow in restricted one-male harem breeding groups.
KeywordsCercopithecus solatus sun-tailed monkeys one-male group inbreeding depression genetic diversity
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