Demographic components of gene frequency change in free-ranging macaques on Cayo Santiago



Gene frequency profiles from January 1973 to January 1977 for three polymorphic loci were examined in Cayo Santiago rhesus social groups. The effects of demographic components (i.e., births, deaths, immigrations, emigrations, and group fission and fusion) on total change in gene frequencies are assessed. Allelic frequencies at the carbonic anhydrase II, 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase, and transferrin loci were analyzed in four social groups. In the two groups that underwent fission and fusion during the study period, the timing of these processes was related to the largest short-term changes in gene frequences. However, immigration and emigration had the greatest effect on total change in gene frequency in all groups during the study period. The relative importance of births and deaths in producing gene frequency change varied among the social groups. These results suggest that the relative importance of the demographic components of gene frequency change in primate populations is determined by behavioral patterns and ecological conditions specific to the population considered.