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Abstract

The genus Aotus represents a highly diverse group with an especially intricate taxonomy. No standard cytogenetic nomenclature for the genus has yet been established. So far, cytogenetic studies have characterized 18 different karyotypes with diploid numbers ranging from 46 to 58 chromosomes. By combining G-banding comparisons and molecular cytogenetic techniques, we were able to describe the most likely pattern of chromosome evolution and phylogenetic position of two Aotus karyomorphs (KMs) from Venezuela: Aotus nancymai (KM3, 2n=54) and Aotus sp. (KM9, 2n=50). All of the proposed Platyrrhini ancestral associations (2/16, 3/21, 5/7, 8/18, 10/16, 14/15) were found in the Aotus KMs studied, except 2/16 and 10/16. In addition, some derived chromosomal associations were also detected in both KMs (1/3, 1/16, 2/12, 2/20, 3/14, 4/15, 5/15, 7/11, 9/15, 9/17, 10/11, and 10/22). Although some of these associations have been found in other New World monkeys, our results suggest that Aotus species have undergone a highly derived chromosomal evolution. The homologies between these two Aotus KMs and human chromosomes were established, indicating that KM3 has a more derived karyotype than KM9 with respect to the ancestral Platyrrhini karyotype. Am. J. Primatol. 65:73–85, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.