Recently Integrated Alu Elements in Capuchin Monkeys: A Resource for Cebus/ Sapajus Genomics

Genes (Basel). 2022 Mar 24;13(4):572. doi: 10.3390/genes13040572.


Capuchins are platyrrhines (monkeys found in the Americas) within the Cebidae family. For most of their taxonomic history, the two main morphological types of capuchins, gracile (untufted) and robust (tufted), were assigned to a single genus, Cebus. Further, all tufted capuchins were assigned to a single species, Cebus apella, despite broad geographic ranges spanning Central and northern South America. In 2012, tufted capuchins were assigned to their genus, Sapajus, with eight currently recognized species and five Cebus species, although these numbers are still under debate. Alu retrotransposons are a class of mobile element insertion (MEI) widely used to study primate phylogenetics. However, Alu elements have rarely been used to study capuchins. Recent genome-level assemblies for capuchins (Cebus imitator; [Cebus_imitator_1.0] and Sapajus apella [GSC_monkey_1.0]) facilitated large scale ascertainment of young lineage-specific Alu insertions. Reported here are 1607 capuchin specific and 678 Sapajus specific Alu insertions along with candidate oligonucleotides for locus-specific PCR assays for many elements. PCR analyses identified 104 genus level and 51 species level Alu insertion polymorphisms. The Alu datasets reported in this study provide a valuable resource that will assist in the classification of archival samples lacking phenotypic data and for the study of capuchin phylogenetic relationships.

Keywords: Alu; Cebidae; Cebus; Sapajus; capuchin; phylogeny; platyrrhine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alu Elements / genetics
  • Animals
  • Cebus* / anatomy & histology
  • Cebus* / genetics
  • Genomics
  • Phylogeny
  • Sapajus*