A fully resolved genus level phylogeny of neotropical primates (Platyrrhini)

Derek E. Wildman, Natalie M. Jameson, Juan C. Opazo, Soojin V. Yi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There are more than 125 species of extant New World monkeys (Primates: Platyrrhini) found in approximately 15 genera. The phylogenetic relationships of these neotropical primates have been extensively studied from a molecular perspective. While these studies have been successful at inferring many of the relationships within the platyrrhines, key questions remain. The current study provides a framework for using non-genic, non-coding markers in comparative primate phylogenomic studies in species whose genomes are not yet scheduled for complete sequencing. A random genomic shotgun library was generated from the nocturnal Owl monkey Aotus lemurinus. Eleven unlinked, non-coding, non-genic, non-repetitive, nuclear DNA markers derived from this library were sequenced in at least one representative species of every platyrrhine genus. The combined sequence from these markers yielded a 7.7 kb multiple sequence alignment of 22 taxa. We analyzed these markers independently and combined with a 10 kb dataset consisting of "traditional," previously published markers located within or directly adjacent to genes. Parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian analysis converged on a single topology for the platyrrhine generic relationships. Notably, we confidently inferred that Pitheciidae is the sister taxon to the other two platyrrhine families (Cebidae, Atelidae). This relationship is supported by high values of branch support as well as topology tests. Additionally, Aotus formed a sister taxon to a clade comprising Cebus and Saimiri. With a fully resolved platyrrhine phylogeny in place it is now possible to design and test hypotheses regarding the evolution and diversification of platyrrhine phenotypes and life histories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)694-702
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Atelidae
  • Callitrichoidea
  • Cebidae
  • Neotropics
  • New World monkeys
  • Non-genic markers
  • Pitheciidae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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