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Selective breeding of primates for use in research: consequences and challenges

By P. Honess, M. A. Stanley-Griffiths, S. Narainapoulle, S. Naiken, T. Andrianjazalahatra

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Primates are bred in captivity for a number of purposes, from zoo-based captive breeding programmes for conservation to breeding for biomedical research. In each case, breeding animals that are fit for purpose, either as viable candidates for reintroduction or as valid research models, has presented challenges and resulted in steep learning curves. The breeding of animals for biomedical research has become increasingly focused on the production of animals that are less stressed by captive (specifically laboratory) environments. This is because elevated, particularly chronic, stress responses can result in altered physiological, neurological and behavioural states that have the potential to compromise the validity of scientific results. Selective breeding in captivity to, for example, maximise production, select for docile temperament or specific genotypes for biomedical research, is likely to be counter to natural selective pressures for evolutionary fitness. Given that many natural selective pressures active in the wild are absent in captivity, this paper reviews the selective breeding of primates (especially Old World monkeys) in captivity, its potential negative effects, and options that exist for ameliorating these negative effects.

Date 2010
Publication Title Animal Welfare
Volume 19
Issue Supplement
Pages 57-65
ISBN/ISSN 0962-7286
Language English
Author Address Oxford University Veterinary Services, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PT, UK.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal genetics
  2. Animal rights
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Biological resources
  5. Breeding
  6. Breeding program
  7. Conservation
  8. Evolution
  9. Fitness
  10. Genotypes
  11. Macaques
  12. Mammals
  13. models
  14. Monkeys
  15. nervous system
  16. peer-reviewed
  17. Primates
  18. Reviews
  19. Selection
  20. temperament
  1. peer-reviewed