Current and Historical Genetic Structure of the White-Footed Tamarin (Saguinus leucopus)



Habitat loss and fragmentation, illegal trade, and other anthropogenic activities cause the population decline of wild species including primates. The white-footed tamarin (Saguinus leucopus) is highly affected by habitat loss and illegal traffic in northwest Colombia. Few studies have been carried out on the species levels of genetic diversity and structure as a means to understand the demographic history of this species, identify conservation management units, and prioritize conservation efforts. In this study we evaluate levels of genetic diversity and population structure for S. leucopus and identify historical demographic changes along its entire geographical range employing 12 nuclear microsatellite loci and the mitochondrial Hypervariable Region I. We identified four well-differentiated population clusters and high levels of genetic diversity in some clusters. We also found evidence of a north-to-south diversification process during the Pleistocene (between 718,600 and 284,800 years ago) and a recent decrease in the effective population size overall. We recommend integrating this information into management practices and conservation plans for the species, and information about observed genetic differences among gene pools as a tool to infer the origin of S. leucopus individual rescued from illegal trade.



This research was funded by ISAGEN (grant No. 46/4208, 2012), CORPOCALDAS (agreement No. 241, 2015), Universidad CES—Área Metropolitana del Valle de Aburrá—Corantioquia alliance (agreements No. CV-1611-215 and No. CV-1612-217), Colciencias (doctoral scholarship 617-2, 2013), Wildlife Conservation Society, Ministerio de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sostenible (agreement 039, 2012), Cortolima (agreement 588, 2014), Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) (agreement CT2017-001448), European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), Fundación Santo Domingo, Fundación Proyecto Primates, the National Science Foundation of the US (Award No. BSC-1540270), the Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation, Primate Conservation, Inc., the Rufford Foundation, the Primate Society of Great Britain, the Conservation Leadership Program and the Schlumberger Faculty for the Future. We thank the Corporación Autónoma Regional de las Cuencas de los Ríos Negro y Nare (CORNARE) for access to the samples from San Luis and some samples from San Carlos. We would like to acknowledge Drs. Claudia Ceballos y Victor Hugo Merchan for their comments on earlier versions of this manuscript.

Supplementary material

490925_1_En_8_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (924 kb)
Supplementary File 8.1 (PDF 923 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratorio de Genética Animal, Grupo de Investigación en Agrociencias, Biodiversidad y Territorio, Instituto de BiologíaUniversidad de AntioquiaMedellínColombia
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  3. 3.Global Wildlife ConservationAustinUSA
  4. 4.College of Biological and Environmental SciencesUniversidad San Francisco de QuitoCumbayáEcuador
  5. 5.Wildlife Health ProgramWildlife Conservation SocietyBogotaColombia
  6. 6.Instituto de Biología, GENMOL (Genética Molecular)Universidad de AntioquiaMedellínColombia
  7. 7.Instituto de BiologíaUniversidad de AntioquiaMedellínColombia
  8. 8.Biodiversidad y Ecosistemas, Corporación Autónoma Regional de Caldas – CORPOCALDASManizalesColombia
  9. 9.Departamento de Gestión y Proyectos en BiodiversidadParque de la ConservaciónMedellínColombia

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