Tracing the phylogeographic history of Southeast Asian long-tailed macaques through mitogenomes of museum specimens

Lu Yao, Hongjie Li, Robert D. Martin, Corrie S. Moreau, Ripan S. Malhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The biogeographical history of Southeast Asia is complicated due to the continuous emergences and disappearances of land bridges throughout the Pleistocene. Here, we use long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis), which are widely distributed throughout the mainland and islands of Southeast Asia, as a model for better understanding the biogeographical patterns of diversification in this geographically complex region. A reliable intraspecific phylogeny including individuals from localities on oceanic islands, continental islands, and the mainland is needed to trace relatedness along with the pattern and timing of colonization in this region. We used high-throughput sequencing techniques to sequence mitochondrial genomes (mitogenomes) from 95 Southeast Asian M. fascicularis specimens housed at natural history museums around the world. To achieve a comprehensive picture, we more than tripled the mitogenome sample size for M. fascicularis from previous studies, and for the first time included documented samples from the Philippines and several small Indonesian islands. Confirming the result from a previous, recent intraspecific phylogeny for M. fascicularis, the newly reconstructed phylogeny of 135 specimens divides the samples into two major clades: Clade A includes haplotypes from the mainland and some from northern Sumatra, while Clade B includes all insular haplotypes along with lineages from southern Sumatra. This study resolves a previous disparity by revealing a disjunction in the origin of Sumatran macaques, with separate lineages originating within the two major clades, suggesting that at least two major migrations to Sumatra occurred. However, our dated phylogeny reveals that the two major clades split ∼1.88 Ma, which is earlier than in previously published phylogenies. Our new data reveal that most Philippine macaque lineages diverged from the Borneo stock within the last ∼0.06–0.43 Ma. Finally, our study provides insight into successful sequencing of DNA across museums and shotgun sequencing of DNA specimens as a method to sequence the mitogenome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-238
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • High-throughput sequencing
  • Intraspecific phylogeny
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Museum specimens
  • Phylogeography
  • Southeast Asia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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