• Open Access

Mitochondrial Diversity and Distribution of African Green Monkeys (Chlorocebus Gray, 1870)

Authors

  • TANJA HAUS,

    Corresponding author
    1. Primate Genetics Laboratory, German Primate Center, Leibniz Institute for Primate Research, Goettingen, Germany
    2. Centre of Biodiversity and Sustainable Land Use, University of Goettingen, Goettingen, Germany
    • Cognitive Ethology Laboratory, German Primate Center, Leibniz Institute for Primate Research, Goettingen, Germany
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  • EMMANUEL AKOM,

    1. College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
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  • BERNARD AGWANDA,

    1. Mammalogy Section, National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya
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  • MICHAEL HOFREITER,

    1. Department of Biology, University of York, York, United Kingdom
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  • CHRISTIAN ROOS,

    1. Primate Genetics Laboratory, German Primate Center, Leibniz Institute for Primate Research, Goettingen, Germany
    2. Gene Bank of Primates, German Primate Center, Leibniz Institute for Primate Research, Goettingen, Germany
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  • DIETMAR ZINNER

    1. Cognitive Ethology Laboratory, German Primate Center, Leibniz Institute for Primate Research, Goettingen, Germany
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  • The last two authors contributed equally.

  • Contract grant sponsor: German Volkswagen Foundation

Correspondence to: Tanja Haus, Cognitive Ethology Laboratory, German Primate Center, Leibniz Institute for Primate Research, Kellnerweg 4, 37077 Goettingen, Germany. E-mail: thaus@dpz.eu

Abstract

African green monkeys (Chlorocebus) represent a widely distributed and morphologically diverse primate genus in sub-Saharan Africa. Little attention has been paid to their genetic diversity and phylogeny. Based on morphological data, six species are currently recognized, but their taxonomy remains disputed. Here, we aim to characterize the mitochondrial (mt) DNA diversity, biogeography and phylogeny of African green monkeys. We analyzed the complete mitochondrial cytochrome b gene of 126 samples using feces from wild individuals and material from zoo and museum specimens with clear geographical provenance, including several type specimens. We found evidence for nine major mtDNA clades that reflect geographic distributions rather than taxa, implying that the mtDNA diversity of African green monkeys does not conform to existing taxonomic classifications. Phylogenetic relationships among clades could not be resolved suggesting a rapid early divergence of lineages. Several discordances between mtDNA and phenotype indicate that hybridization may have occurred in contact zones among species, including the threatened Bale monkey (Chlorocebus djamdjamensis). Our results provide both valuable data on African green monkeys’ genetic diversity and evolution and a basis for further molecular studies on this genus. Am. J. Primatol. 75:350-360, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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