Use of genome-wide heterospecific single-nucleotide polymorphisms to estimate linkage disequilibrium in rhesus and cynomolgus macaques

Jillian Ng, Jessica Satkoski Trask, Paul Houghton, David G. Smith, Sreetharan Kanthaswamy

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Rhesus and cynomolgus macaques are frequently used in biomedical research, and the availability of their reference genomes now provides for their use in genome-wide association studies. However, little is known about linkage disequilibrium (LD) in their genomes, which can affect the design and success of such studies. Here we studied LD by using 1781 conserved single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 183 rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta), including 97 purebred Chinese and 86 purebred Indian animals, and 96 cynomolgus macaques (M. fascicularis fascicularis). Correlation between loci pairs decayed to 0.02 at 1146.83, 2197.92, and 3955.83 kb for Chinese rhesus, Indian rhesus, and cynomolgus macaques, respectively. Differences between the observed heterozygosity and minor allele frequency (MAF) of pairs of these 3 taxa were highly statistically significant. These 3 nonhuman primate taxa have significantly different genetic diversities (heterozygosity and MAF) and rates of LD decay. Our study confirms a much lower rate of LD decay in Indian than in Chinese rhesus macaques relative to that previously reported. In contrast, the especially low rate of LD decay in cynomolgus macaques suggests the particular usefulness of this species in genome-wide association studies. Although conserved markers, such as those used here, are required for valid LD comparisons among taxa, LD can be assessed with less bias by using species-specific markers, because conserved SNPs may be ancestral and therefore not informative for LD. Comparative Medicine

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-69
Number of pages8
JournalComparative Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • veterinary(all)

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