Marmoset Genome Project

Image source: Raimond Spekking, Wikimedia Commons

About the Project

The BCM-HGSC is sequencing the genome of the white-tufted-ear marmoset (Callithrix jacchus).

The marmoset is a New World monkey native to South America. The phylogenetic lineage leading to marmosets and other platyrrhine primates is believed to have diverged from the lineage that produced humans and apes approximately 35-40 million years ago.

Marmosets are commonly used in biomedical research, serving as valuable subjects for studies of aging, reproductive biology, behavior and neuroendocrinlogy, pharmacology, immunology and autoimmune diseases and other aspects of biomedicine.

This is the first New World monkey, or platyrrhine, genome to be sequenced, and as a result these data provide valuable new comparative information about genomic variation among primates and the history of the human genome.

The New World monkeys stand as an outgroup in evolutionary comparisons among Old World monkeys, apes and humans. Marmosets are remarkable for their highly unusual hematopoietic chimerism, which results in most adult C. jacchus having a mixed population of circulating blood cells that is derived both from their own germline and from the germline of their co-twin littermate.  

The Marmoset Genome Sequencing Consortium is a collaboration between the Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Center and the Genome Sequencing Center at Washington University (St. Louis, MO).

The reference animal (female) was selected from the colony at the Southwest National Primate Research Center, in collaboration with Dr. Suzette Tardif. A high quality draft whole genome assembly was produced using Sanger sequencing methods. Additional sequence finishing of BAC clones is focused on genomic regions of particular interest for studies of human diseases or to facilitate genomic comparisons with other primates. 

To complement the reference genome, the BCM-HGSC has sequenced additional individuals from this species, using samples obtained from the colonies at the Southwest, New England and Wisconsin National Primate Research Centers. These additional whole genome sequences provide information about within-species genetic variation such as SNPs, small indels and other polymorphism.

The sequencing and comparative analysis is funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) of the NIH.

Genomic Resources

Additional Resources

Learn more about the white-tufted-ear marmoset (Callithrix jacchus)

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