Frequency of spontaneous congenital defects in rhesus and cynomolgus macaques

Pamela E. Peterson, J. J. Short, R. Tarara, C. Valverde, E. Rothgarn, Andrew G Hendrickx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


This paper summarizes the spontaneous incidence of congenital defects in the rhesus and cynomolgus macaque colonies (Macaco mulatto and M. fascicularis) at the California Regional Primate Research Center. The computerized database used in this analysis included fetuses, term infants, juveniles, and adults that underwent a necropsy procedure over a 14-year period (1983-1996). The calculated malformation rates were 0.9% (40/4,390) and 0.3% (3/965) for the rhesus and cynomolgus monkey, respectively. Most of the observed malformations in both species affected the musculoskeletal and the cardiovascular systems, while a smaller number of defects were observed in the gastrointestinal, urogenital, endocrine, and central nervous systems. Inbreeding did not contribute to the spontaneous malformation incidence and there was no predilection for sex (male vs. female) or housing (indoors vs. outdoors) among the malformed cases. This spontaneous malformation database in our macaque colony aids in the interpretation of defects that occur in an experimental study as well as in the ongoing assessment of a healthy nonhuman primate breeding colony.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-275
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Medical Primatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1997


  • Birth defects
  • Malformations
  • Monkeys
  • Teratology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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