Subspecies identification of Chimpanzees Pan troglodytes (Primates: Hominidae) from the National Zoo of the Metropolitan Park of Santiago, Chile, using mitochondrial DNA sequences

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J.A. Vega
J. Suazo
S.V. Smalley
L.R. Cataldo
G. Cubillos
J.L. Santos

Abstract

Natural populations of Chimpanzees Pan troglodytes are declining because of hunting and illegal live animal trafficking. Four subspecies of Chimpanzee have been reported: Pan troglodytes troglodytes, P.t. schweinfurthii, P.t. verus and P.t. ellioti, which have remained geographically separated by natural barriers such as the rivers Niger, Sanaga and Ubangi in central Africa. Sequence analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has been used for the determination of these subspecies, which indirectly can also suggest their geographic origin. It was decided to identify the subspecies and the geographic origin of three captive chimpanzees of the National Zoo of the Metropolitan Park of Santiago (Chile), by analyzing their mitochondrial DNA. DNA was extracted from the saliva of three adult chimpanzees (two males and one female). After the analysis of sequences of the mitochondrial hypervariable region (HVI), a phylogenetic tree was constructed using mitochondrial sequences of known Pan troglodytes subspecies. Molecular phylogeny analysis revealed that the chimpanzees are likely to belong to three different subspecies: P.t. schweinfurthii, P.t. verus and P.t. troglodytes. Identification of subspecies of the three chimpanzees of the National Zoo of the Metropolitan Park of Santiago (Chile) was possible due to mtDNA analysis. Future identification of chimpanzees will allow the development of a studbook for the chimpanzee subspecies in other Latin American zoos.

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[1]
Vega, J., Suazo, J., Smalley, S., Cataldo, L., Cubillos, G. and Santos, J. 2014. Subspecies identification of Chimpanzees Pan troglodytes (Primates: Hominidae) from the National Zoo of the Metropolitan Park of Santiago, Chile, using mitochondrial DNA sequences. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 6, 5 (May 2014), 5712–5717. DOI:https://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o3611.5712-7.
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Short Communications