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Records from a colony of captive Indian rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) were used to estimate heritability for a number of reproductive traits. Records were based on a total of 7,816 births by 1,901 females from 1979 to 2007. Heritability was estimated with a linear animal model using a multiple trait derivative free REML set of programs. Because no male parents were identified, the numerator relationship matrix contained female kinships established over six generations. Reproductive traits included female age at the birth of the first, second and last infant, age at death, inter-birth intervals, number of infants born per female and infant survival. Heritability for each trait was estimated as the ratio of the additive genetic variance to phenotypic variance adjusted for significant fixed effects. Estimates of heritability for early reproduction ranged from 0.000±70.072 for birth interval after the first reproduction to 0.171±70.062 for age of female at the first infant. Higher estimates of heritability were found for female longevity [0.325±70.143] and for productivity of deceased females born before 1991 [0.221±70.138]. Heritability for infant survival ranged from 0.061±70.018 for survival from 30 days to 1 year to 0.290±70.050 for survival from birth to 30 days when adjusted to an underlying normal distribution. Eight of the 13 estimates of heritability for reproductive traits in this study were different from zero [P<0.05]. Generally, heritability estimates reported in this study for reproductive traits of captive rhesus macaque females are similar to those reported in the literature for free-ranging rhesus macaque females and for similar reproductive traits of other species. These estimates of heritability for reproductive traits appear to be among the first for a relatively large colony of captive rhesus macaque females. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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American Journal of Primatology

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