Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Monkey Matching 101

Maintaining genetic variation in small populations is important. Population managers try to keep genetic variation in the population by giving breeding priority to animals who carry rare genes. This is done by analyzing pedigrees to see how much each animal in the population is related to the rest of the population. The animals on the top row of our sample pedigrees are founders (for example, wild-caught animals), while the bottom row represents the living population. The most valuable animals are the ones descended from the founders whose genes are least common in the living population. Can you find the most valuable tamarin in this pedigree?

Rather than look at pedigrees, which can be very complicated, zoo managers use something called mean kinship to identify the most valuable animals.

Which of the GLTs below is the most genetically valuable?