Genotyping from semen of wild Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata)



The noninvasive collection of animal cells is crucial for DNA analyses in wild populations that cannot be disturbed by capture. We describe the collection of 68 semen samples following copulation and masturbation events in wild habituated and nonhabituated troops of Japanese macaques on the protected island of Yakushima. We used this DNA to amplify 390 base pairs (bp) of the mitochondrial DNA control region in 16 individuals from eight troops, and found a monomorphic pattern in agreement with the low variability imposed by geographic isolation and female philopatry. We also amplified two microsatellite loci from samples collected after the resident males of a focal troop had copulated with different females. We found several different allele combinations in samples collected after the observed mating of a single male, indicating the presence of contaminant DNA, presumably from males that had previously mated with the same female. This discovery made it impossible to assign a given sample to a specific male except when the samples were recovered after masturbation events. Thus, it was not possible to test for kinship or estimate allele frequencies from the semen samples. The mixing of semen, and the pattern of sample collection observed in morphologically identified individuals support the notion that strong mating and sperm competition exists among resident and nonresident males. Am. J. Primatol. 62:31–42, 2004. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.