Genetic studies of free-ranging primates have been seriously impeded by difficulties of sampling tissues, including the undesirability of bleeding habituated animals, of transporting frozen samples to the laboratory, and of the inherent inadequacies of accessible variation including allozymes, mtDNA RFLP patterns and DNA fingerprints. We have developed methods of non-invasive DNA sampling and DNA-level genotyping which, when combined with a hierarchical analysis of mtDNA sequences and hypervariable nDNA simple sequence repeat (microsatellite) loci size length polymorphisms, facilitate the resolution of most questions at the individual, social group (community), population, and species (phylogenetic) levels. This approach, based on DNA amplified from shed hair, represents an important new tool for the acquisition of genetic information and will facilitate the study and management of both captive and free-ranging chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Our hierarchical analysis of population genetics of chimpanzees has revealed high historical levels of gene flow and large effective population sizes, as well as substantial divergence between the West African subspecies and chimpanzees from central and East Africa. At the community level, closer relatedness among philopatric males than among females supports the view that kin selection has been an evolutionary force shaping male-male cooperation in this species. Results from our study of the now relatively isolated Gombe community suggest that habitat fragmentation affects population genetic structure and possibly population viability.
- Cytochrome b
- Mitochondrial DNA