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Open Access Research article

Phylogenetic studies of the genus Cebus (Cebidae-Primates) using chromosome painting and G-banding

PJS Amaral14, LFM Finotelo15, EHC De Oliveira1, A Pissinatti3, CY Nagamachi12 and JC Pieczarka126*

Author Affiliations

1 Universidade Federal do Pará. Laboratório de Citogenética, Belém, PA, Brazil

2 CNPq Researcher, Brazil

3 Centro de Primatologia do Rio de Janeiro – CPRJ/FEEMA, Brazil

4 CAPES Masters Scholarship on Genetics and Molecular Biology, Brazil

5 CNPq Masters Scholarship on Genetics and Molecular Biology, Brazil

6 Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal do Pará., Campus do Guamá, Av. Perimetral, sn. Guamá, Belém – Pará, Brazil

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BMC Evolutionary Biology 2008, 8:169  doi:10.1186/1471-2148-8-169

Published: 5 June 2008



Chromosomal painting, using whole chromosome probes from humans and Saguinus oedipus, was used to establish karyotypic divergence among species of the genus Cebus, including C. olivaceus, C. albifrons, C. apella robustus and C. apella paraguayanus. Cytogenetic studies suggested that the species of this genus have conservative karyotypes, with diploid numbers ranging from 2n = 52 to 2n = 54.


Banding studies revealed morphological divergence among some chromosomes, owing to variations in the size of heterochromatic blocks. This analysis demonstrated that Cebus species have five conserved human associations (i.e., 5/7, 2/16, 10/16, 14/15, 8/18 and 3/21) when compared with the putative ancestral Platyrrhini karyotype.


The autapomorphies 8/15/8 in C. albifrons and 12/15 in C. olivaceus explain the changes in chromosome number from 54 to 52. The association 5/16/7, which has not previously been reported in Platyrrhini, was also found in C. olivaceus. These data corroborate previous FISH results, suggesting that the genus Cebus has a very similar karyotype to the putative ancestral Platyrrhini.