Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name



Molecular Biology and Genetics

First Advisor

Derek E. Wildman


The life history of a species is highly impacted by their reproductive strategy. In my dissertation I address the changing reproductive strategies in callitrichine New World monkeys and their genetic underpinnings using a phylogenetic approach. The necessity for a resolved phylogeny is universal to any comparative genomic study. Here we have constructed a reliable phylogenetic framework from which reproductive strategy could be studied in callitrichines. First, to determine the most recent common ancestor of Anthropoid primates we took a phylogenomic approach, using the publicly available whole genome sequences of 17 mammal species. With high confidence, we determined here that Tarsier is the most recent common ancestor to Anthropoid primates. Secondly, we construct a reliable phylogenetic framework for New World monkeys. To do this, genomic sequence databases are developed and parsed for non-genic markers. The resulting phylogeny is based on 40+kb of non-genic genomic data and contains 40 species. Finally the reproductive strategy of callitrichines was investigated. The timing and mechanism of litter size reduction in Goeldi's monkey was accessed though detection of chimerism and adaptive evolution of genes involved in reproduction. We determined based on these analysis that the reduction in litter size is likely pre-ovulation and due to a reversion to mono-ovulation in the species.

Included in

Evolution Commons