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Keywords:

  • Asia;
  • Regional population;
  • Genetic diversity

Abstract

Genetic variability in a population of wild rhesus monkeys near the village of Dunga Gali, Northwest Frontier Province, Pakistan (Melnick et al., Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 63: 341–360, 1984) was compared to similar variation in other wild-caught rhesus monkeys. Regional samples of rhesus from different parts of Asia all displayed similar amounts of variation (i.e., P and Hi) and were consistently more variable than the Dunga Gali local population. Despite these differences in the level of genetic variation, genetic diversity is fairly evenly distributed across the species range. Thus only 3–9% of the total gene diversity of Macaca mulatta can be attributed to differences among major regions. The differences that do exist tend toward a weak geographic cline with clustering of populations into an eastern and a western group. Both selection and drift/migration models explain this general genetic homogeneity. More genetic (protein and DNA) and zoogeographic data are necessary to choose between these models.