Chromosome painting shows that the proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) has a derived karyotype and is phylogenetically nested within asian colobines


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The exceptional diploid number (2n=48) of the proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) has played a pivotal role in phylogenies that view the proboscis monkey as the most primitive colobine, and a long-isolated genus of the group. In this report we used molecular cytogenetic methods to map the chromosomal homology of the proboscis monkey in order to test these hypotheses. Our results reveal that the N. larvatus karyotype is derived and is not primitive in respect to other colobines (2n=44) and most other Old World monkeys. The diploid number of 2n=48 can be best explained by derived fissions of a segment of human chromosomes 14 and 6. The fragmentation and association of human chromosomes 1 and 19 as seen in other Asian colobines, but not in African colobines, is best explained as a derived reciprocal translocation linking all Asian colobines. The alternating hybridization pattern between four segments homologous to human chromosomes 1 and 19 on N. larvatus chromosome 6 is the result of the reciprocal translocation followed by a pericentric inversion. N. larvatus shares this pericentric inversion with Trachypithecus, but not with Pygathrix. This inversion apparently links Nasalis and Trachypithecus after the divergence of Pygathrix. The karyological data support the view that Asian colobines, including N. larvatus, are monophyletic. They share many linking karyological features separating them from the African colobines. The hybridization pattern also suggests that Nasalis is nested within Asian Colobines and shares a period of common descent with other Asian colobines after the divergence of Pygathrix. Am. J. Primatol. 60:85–93, 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.