The development of small primate models for aging research

Academic Article


  • Nonhuman primate (NHP) aging research has traditionally relied mainly on the rhesus macaque. But the long lifespan, low reproductive rate, and relatively large body size of macaques and related Old World monkeys make them less than ideal models for aging research. Manifold advantages would attend the use of smaller, more rapidly developing, shorter-lived NHP species in aging studies, not the least of which are lower cost and the ability to do shorter research projects. Arbitrarily defining "small" primates as those weighing less than 500 g, we assess small, relatively short-lived species among the prosimians and callitrichids for suitability as models for human aging research. Using the criteria of availability, knowledge about (and ease of) maintenance, the possibility of genetic manipulation (a hallmark of 21st century biology), and similarities to humans in the physiology of age-related changes, we suggest three species-two prosimians (Microcebus murinus and Galago senegalensis) and one New World monkey (Callithrix jacchus)- that deserve scrutiny for development as major NHP models for aging studies. We discuss one other New World monkey group, Cebus spp., that might also be an effective NHP model of aging as these species are longer-lived for their body size than any primate except humans.
  • Published In

  • ILAR news  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Fischer KE; Austad SN
  • Start Page

  • 78
  • End Page

  • 88
  • Volume

  • 52
  • Issue

  • 1