As in other model organisms, genetic background in the non-human primates Macaca mulatta and Macaca fascicularis is an experimental variable that affects the response of other study variables. Genetic background in model organisms is manipulated by breeding schemes but is generally pre-determined by the source population used to found captive stocks. In M. fascicularis three such sources have been distinguished, however, these are not routinely taken into consideration when designing research.Methods
We exemplify a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)-based strategy to trace the maternal geographic origins of M. fascicularis animals of unspecified origins.Results
Macaca fascicularis of unspecified origins kept at primate research centers carry mtDNA haplotypes representing all three major genetic subdivisions.Conclusions
We suggest that the genetic background of study animals could be better specified in the future using an mtDNA-based approach, which would enable informed selection of study animals and help reduce variation within and among studies.