Pliocene uplifting of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) and Quaternary glaciation may have impacted the Asian biota more than any other events. Little is documented with respect to how the geological and climatological events influenced speciation as well as spatial and genetic structuring, especially in vertebrate endotherms. Macaca mulatta is the most widely distributed non-human primate. It may be the most suitable model to test hypotheses regarding the genetic consequences of orogenesis on an endotherm.

Methodology and Principal Findings

Using a large dataset of maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA gene sequences and nuclear microsatellite DNA data, we discovered two maternal super-haplogroups exist, one in western China and the other in eastern China. M. mulatta formed around 2.31 Ma (1.51–3.15, 95%), and divergence of the two major matrilines was estimated at 1.15 Ma (0.78–1.55, 95%). The western super-haplogroup exhibits significant geographic structure. In contrast, the eastern super-haplogroup has far greater haplotypic variability with little structure based on analyses of six variable microsatellite loci using STRUCTURE and GENELAND. Analysis using MIGRATE detected greater gene flow from WEST to EAST than vice versa. We did not detect signals of bottlenecking in most populations.


Analyses of the nuclear and mitochondrial datasets obtained large differences in genetic patterns for M. mulatta. The difference likely reflects inheritance mechanisms of the maternally inherited mtDNA genome versus nuclear biparentally inherited STRs and male-mediated gene flow. Dramatic environmental changes may be responsible for shaping the matrilineal history of macaques. The timing of events, the formation of M. mulatta, and the divergence of the super-haplogroups, corresponds to both the uplifting of the QTP and Quaternary climatic oscillations. Orogenesis likely drove divergence of western populations in China, and Pleistocene glaciations are likely responsible for genetic structuring in the eastern super-haplogroup via geographic isolation and secondary contact.

Cite: Shan-Jin Wu, Jing Luo, Qing-Qing Li, Yan-Qin Wang, Robert W. Murphy, Christopher Blair, Shi-Fang Wu, Bi-Song Yue, Ya-Ping Zhang (2013) Ecological Genetics of Chinese Rhesus Macaque in Response to Mountain Building: All Things Are Not Equal. PLoS ONE. 8 (2) : e55315.

期刊杂志: PLoS ONE

影响因子: 3.534

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055315