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BMC Biology  2007 

A mobile element-based evolutionary history of guenons (tribe Cercopithecini)

DOI: 10.1186/1741-7007-5-5

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We identified 151 novel Alu insertion loci from 11 species of tribe Cercopithecini, and used these insertions and 17 previously reported loci to infer a phylogenetic tree of the tribe Cercopithecini. Our results robustly supported the following relationships: (i) Allenopithecus is the basal lineage within the tribe; (ii) Cercopithecus lhoesti (L'Hoest's monkey) forms a clade with Chlorocebus aethiops (African green monkey) and Erythrocebus patas (patas monkey), supporting a single arboreal to terrestrial transition within the tribe; (iii) all of the Cercopithecus except C. lhoesti form a monophyletic group; and (iv) contrary to the common belief that Miopithecus is one of the most basal lineages in the tribe, M. talapoin (talapoin) forms a clade with arboreal members of Cercopithecus, and the terrestrial group (C. lhoesti, Chlorocebus aethiops and E. patas) diverged from this clade after the divergence of Allenopithecus. Some incongruent loci were found among the relationships within the arboreal Cercopithecus group. Several factors, including incomplete lineage sorting, concurrent polymorphism and hybridization between species may have contributed to the incongruence.This study presents one of the most robust phylogenetic hypotheses for the tribe Cercopithecini and demonstrates the advantages of SINE insertions for phylogenetic studies.Guenons (tribe Cercopithecini) are a species-rich group of primates with a distribution throughout sub Saharan Africa. With their diverse morphology, ecology, behavior and social organizations, guenons have attracted considerable attention from both primatologists and evolutionary biologists [1,2]. In addition, some species in the tribe (e.g. Chlorocebus aethiops) have been widely used in biomedical studies [3-5]. Based on Groves' classification [6], the tribe Cercopithecini consists of five genera (Erythrocebus, Chlorocebus, Cercopithecus, Miopithecus and Allenopithecus) comprising 36 species. The evolutionary history of guenons may


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