Genome sequencing and comparison of two nonhuman primate animal models, the cynomolgus and Chinese rhesus macaques

Nat Biotechnol. 2011 Oct 16;29(11):1019-23. doi: 10.1038/nbt.1992.


The nonhuman primates most commonly used in medical research are from the genus Macaca. To better understand the genetic differences between these animal models, we present high-quality draft genome sequences from two macaque species, the cynomolgus/crab-eating macaque and the Chinese rhesus macaque. Comparison with the previously sequenced Indian rhesus macaque reveals that all three macaques maintain abundant genetic heterogeneity, including millions of single-nucleotide substitutions and many insertions, deletions and gross chromosomal rearrangements. By assessing genetic regions with reduced variability, we identify genes in each macaque species that may have experienced positive selection. Genetic divergence patterns suggest that the cynomolgus macaque genome has been shaped by introgression after hybridization with the Chinese rhesus macaque. Macaque genes display a high degree of sequence similarity with human disease gene orthologs and drug targets. However, we identify several putatively dysfunctional genetic differences between the three macaque species, which may explain functional differences between them previously observed in clinical studies.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genome*
  • Humans
  • Macaca fascicularis / genetics*
  • Macaca mulatta / genetics*
  • Models, Animal
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Species Specificity

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AEHK00000000
  • GENBANK/AEHK01000000
  • GENBANK/AEHL00000000
  • GENBANK/AEHL01000000
  • GEO/GSE29629