Cytogenetic and fertility studies of a rheboon, rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) x baboon (Papio hamadryas) cross: further support for a single karyotype nomenclature

Am J Phys Anthropol. 1999 Oct;110(2):119-27. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1096-8644(199910)110:2<119::AID-AJPA1>3.0.CO;2-S.


Historically, two different numbering systems have been used to describe the baboon and macaque karyotypes. However, G-banding studies and, more recently, fluorescence in situ hybridization results have shown that the two karyotypes are virtually identical. To confirm this hypothesis, cytogenetic analysis of an unusual animal, a rheboon, was undertaken. The rheboon reported here, an 18-year-old male, is the only long-term survivor of 26 pregnancies resulting from matings between female baboons (Papio hamadryas) and male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). A G-banded karyotype was prepared from the rheboon and compared with the karyotypes of the two parental species. Spectral karyotyping (SKY) was carried out on the rheboon chromosomes, and the results were compared with SKY studies reported for the baboon and with CISS (chromosome in situ suppression) studies in the rhesus macaque. No differences were detected in any of the rheboon's pairs of autosomes, reinforcing the apparent identity of the two parental karyotypes. Based on these results, we argue that a single karyotyping system should be adopted for the two species. Fertility studies were initiated to determine if the rheboon is sterile, as are most hybrid animals. Two semen ejaculates were devoid of sperm. A testicular biopsy revealed hypoplasia of the seminiferous tubules with few Leydig cells and large lumena. Meiotic arrest occurred during meiosis I, resulting in absence of mature spermatozoa. Thus, the testicular and meiotic findings in the rheboon were similar to those observed in other hybrids, even though the parental karyotypes appear identical.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Crosses, Genetic*
  • Cytogenetics
  • Female
  • Fertility*
  • Karyotyping
  • Macaca mulatta / genetics*
  • Macaca mulatta / physiology
  • Male
  • Papio / genetics*
  • Papio / physiology
  • Terminology as Topic