Evidence suggests that certain genotypic variants associated with novelty-seeking and aggressiveness, such as the 7-repeat dopamine D4 receptor variant (DRD4-7R), short (s) allele of the serotonin transporter (5-HTT), and the low-activity variant of the MAOa promoter (MAOa-L), are more prevalent in human groups that radiated out of Africa than human groups that remained in Africa. Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta), like humans, are a widespread species of primates that needed to adapt to different regional environments with one group, Indian-derived rhesus macaques, largely occupying predictable and resource-rich environments, while the other group, the Chinese-derived rhesus macaques, has come to occupy less predictable and resource-abundant environments. Rhesus macaques possess orthologues of these trait-related genes, making it possible to compare the frequency of genotypes associated with these traits between members of two strains. DNA was obtained from N=212 rhesus macaques (n=54 Chinese-derived, n=158 Indian-derived) and genotyped for DRD4 (n=98), 5-HTT (n=190), and MAOA (n=97). Analyses showed that Chinese-derived subjects exhibited higher frequencies of the DRD4-7R and 5-HTT-s-allele when compared to Indian-derived subjects. There were no strain differences in MAOA-L genotype groupings, but the Chinese-derived subjects exhibited a more frequent high-activity (MAOA-H-6R) allele when compared to the Indian-derived subjects. The results suggest that the Chinese-derived rhesus macaques possess a higher frequency of alleles associated with novelty-seeking, impulsivity, and aggressiveness compared to their Indian-derived peers and that those genotypically-mediated traits may have beneficial to both humans and rhesus macaques as they spread into novel and unfamiliar environments.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Hunter, Jacob N., "A Nonhuman Primate Model of the Out of Africa Theory Utilizing Chinese- and Indian-Derived Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta)" (2021). Theses and Dissertations. 8989.
5-HTT, DRD4, novelty-seeking, aggressiveness, rhesus macaque