Writing in the cover story of the current issue of the American Journal of Primatology, researchers headed by Randall Kyes of the University of Washington report that the Nepali macaques are more closely related genetically to rhesus macaques from India than rhesus macaques of China.
This is important because Indian-origin animals have been used for more than half a century in biomedical and behavioral research. Rhesus macaques have contributed to the discovery of vaccines to prevent diseases such as polio and yellow fever, and represent one of the most widely used primate models for AIDS-related research. India, however, banned the export of all macaques in 1978, thus leading to the current shortage. Although China has been exporting captive-bred animals for sometime, scientists have noted a number of behavioral and physiological differences in disease progression between animals from the two countries, and the Indian-origin macaques are generally preferred in research on certain diseases.
The new study was spearheaded by Kyes, a primatologist and head of the UW’s Division of International Programs at the Washington National Primate Research Center, in collaboration with Mukesh Chalise, president of the Nepal Biodiversity Research Society and a zoologist at Tribhuvan University in Nepal.
Blood samples from 21 Nepali rhesus macaques living at a temple site in Kathmandu were obtained as part of a comprehensive health screening conducted at the temple. These samples were compared with existing samples collected from more than 300 Indian- and Chinese-origin rhesus macaques.
The researchers did sequence analyses of mitochondrial DNA and examined the distribution of certain types of alleles, or pairs of genes, for genetic variations distributed across 17 chromosomes. They also looked for the presence of other alleles that are known to influence immunity and the rate of disease progression in the animals, including one that is present in Indian rhesus macaques but not in the Chinese ones.
Kyes, who also is a UW research associate professor of psychology, said the genetic analyses indicate the Nepali rhesus macaques are genetically similar to Indian-origin rhesus macaques. In addition, while the temple samples were taken from an isolated population, he believes they may be representative of Nepali rhesus macaques in general given the past history of the area and the geographic barrier of the Himalayan Mountains that separates Nepal and India from China.
To facilitate the use of rhesus macaques in research while ensuring the conservation of Nepal’s naturally occurring rhesus populations, the Nepali government enacted a policy in 2003 stipulating that only captive-bred animals may be used for scientific research. The rhesus macaque is prevalent in many countries and is not considered an endangered species. An agreement between the Nepal Biodiversity Research Society and the Washington National Primate Research Center was signed in September 2003 and a captive-breeding facility is now under construction. A breeding colony is expected to be established within 12 months.
"This program will not harm the natural populations because we will establish the self-sustaining breeding colony with a relatively small number of animals that will be acquired from areas of known human-monkey conflicts," said Kyes. "In Nepal, this conflict is caused by monkeys that raid staple crops such as sweet potatoes and corn. Crop raiding is prevalent in many areas in Nepal and in the last five to 10 years there are many instances of local people seeking to solve this problem by chasing or killing macaques.
"One of the goals of our international program is to assist our collaborators in creating the first primate research center in Nepal and to help address some of Nepal’s most pressing health concerns that include HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis and malaria.
"In addition, the program has a strong conservation thrust. Establishing this center will allow more resources to be dedicated to primate conservation in Nepal because it has the potential to generate significant funding that can be directed toward the management and conservation of natural populations. This kind of program has been effective in other habitat countries and is supported by the World Health Organization and the World Conservation Union," he said.
Joel Schwarz | EurekAlert!
Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University
Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
28.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
28.03.2017 | Life Sciences
28.03.2017 | Information Technology
28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy