Reduced Representation Genome Sequencing Suggests Low Diversity on the Sex Chromosomes of Tonkean Macaque Monkeys Journal Articles uri icon

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  • In species with separate sexes, social systems can differ in the relative variances of male versus female reproductive success. Papionin monkeys (macaques, mangabeys, mandrills, drills, baboons, and geladas) exhibit hallmarks of a high variance in male reproductive success, including a female-biased adult sex ratio and prominent sexual dimorphism. To explore the potential genomic consequences of such sex differences, we used a reduced representation genome sequencing approach to quantifying polymorphism at sites on autosomes and sex chromosomes of the tonkean macaque (Macaca tonkeana), a species endemic to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. The ratio of nucleotide diversity of the X chromosome to that of the autosomes was less than the value (0.75) expected with a 1:1 sex ratio and no sex differences in the variance in reproductive success. However, the significance of this difference was dependent on which outgroup was used to standardize diversity levels. Using a new model that includes the effects of varying population size, sex differences in mutation rate between the autosomes and X chromosome, and GC-biased gene conversion (gBGC) or selection on GC content, we found that the maximum-likelihood estimate of the ratio of effective population size of the X chromosome to that of the autosomes was 0.68, which did not differ significantly from 0.75. We also found evidence for 1) a higher level of purifying selection on genic than nongenic regions, 2) gBGC or natural selection favoring increased GC content, 3) a dynamic demography characterized by population growth and contraction, 4) a higher mutation rate in males than females, and 5) a very low polymorphism level on the Y chromosome. These findings shed light on the population genomic consequences of sex differences in the variance in reproductive success, which appear to be modest in the tonkean macaque; they also suggest the occurrence of hitchhiking on the Y chromosome.


  • Evans, Ben
  • Zeng, Kai
  • Esselstyn, Jacob A
  • Charlesworth, Brian
  • Melnick, Don J

publication date

  • September 2014

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