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    When compared to the approximately 22 other macaque species, Macaca arctoides has many unique phenotypes. These traits fall into various phenotypic categories, including genitalia, coloration, mating, and olfactory traits. Here we used a previously identified whole genome set of 690 outlier genes to look for possible genetic explanations of these unique traits. Of these, 279 genes were annotated miRNAs, which are non-coding. Patterns within the remaining outliers in coding genes were investigated using GO (n = 370) and String (n = 383) analysis, which showed many interconnected immune-related genes. Further, we compared the outliers to candidate pathways associated with M. arcotides' unique phenotypes, revealing 10/690 outlier genes that overlapped these four pathways: hedgehog signaling, WNT signaling, olfactory, and melanogenesis. Of these, genes in all pathways except olfactory had higher FST values than the rest of the genes in the genome based on permutation tests. Overall, our results point to many genes each having a small impact on phenotype, working in tandem to cause large systemic changes. Additionally, these results may indicate pleiotropy. This seems to be especially true with the development and coloration of M. arctoides. Our results highlight that development, melanogenesis, immune function, and miRNAs may be heavily involved in M. arctoides' evolutionary history. © 2023. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Japan Monkey Centre.


    Taylor E Novak, Nick P Bailey, Laurie S Stevison. Genetic characterization of Macaca arctoides: A highlight of key genes and pathways. Primates; journal of primatology. 2023 Jul;64(4):451-462

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    PMID: 37142891

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