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Breeding Colony Management and Genetics Program

Primate Breeding Operations

WaNPRC operates one of the few breeding colonies for M. nemestrina in the United States. The Seattle campus breeding program is utilized for the production of time-mated pregnancies or provision of newborn infants specifically for research programsWaNPRC also maintains an off-site “specific pathogen free” (SPF) breeding colony of pigtail macaques located in Mesa, Arizona. This site houses animals in both indoor and indoor/outdoor compounds in harem breeding groups. This breeding colony is located on 21 acres of Tribal Land belonging to the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC).

The off-site breeding colony animals are SPF for the following disease agents:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Simian betaretrovirus (SRV)
  • Simian T cell leukemia virus (STLV)
  • Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)
  • Macacine alphaherpesvirus 1 (Herpes B virus, BV)

MHC genotyping is performed to further characterize the animals.  Additional screening may be performed upon request to identify the most appropriate animal model for research.

Population Genetics and Demography

The objective of the breeding program is to maintain demographically stable populations of sufficient size to preserve a high level of genetic diversity over a long period, while providing animals at sufficient rates to research assignment.

Genetic Management

The genetic management plan is designed to maintain sufficiently high genetic diversity and avoid inbreeding. This is achieved by specifying which animals can breed, how often, and with whom they can breed. These decisions are based on the genetic utility of each individual, which in turn is based on the pedigree structure of the population. Maintenance of the colony pedigree is of paramount importance in determining the genetic importance of breeding animals.  The pedigree is verified through use of genomic single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis.