The critical shortage of rhesus monkeys has created an urgent need to develop alternative nonhuman primate models for biomedical research. The vervet / African green monkey (Chlorocebus aethiops) is an ideal candidate to fill this position. Vervets are Old World monkeys that resemble the rhesus in behavior, physiology and anatomy. Caribbean-derived vervets are readily available and are less expensive than rhesus, and because they do not carry Herpesvirus simiae (B virus), they present fewer health and safety risks than rhesus or other Asian macaque alternatives. The UCLA Vervet Research Colony (VRC) is an established center that has supported local research in vervet monkey neurobiology, behavior and genetics for 29 years, making it uniquely positioned to serve as the basis for a national resource center for vervet monkeys. The extensive genetic and behavioral database collected on vervets at the VRC make this a particularly valuable resource for collaborative research in a number of areas of biomedical interest, including obesity, diabetes, aging, psychiatric and behavioral disorders, and vulnerability for cardiovascular disease. Support from an NCRR P40 grant will enable the VRC to a) increase the supply of nonhuman primates for biomedical research by breeding US colony-born, specific pathogen free (SPF) vervets of known age and medical history for NIH-funded investigators; b) provide vervets with specific characteristics and conditions (e.g., aged, impulsive, obese, diabetic) to outside investigators; c) maintain a pedigreed, genotyped colony of vervets for use as a national resource for research on genetic contributions to faiomedicaltraits; d) provide training and information on the clinical care and management of vervets to enhance the use of this species in other centers, and e) support the continued use of vervet models for genetic, biobehavioral and neurobiological research, and the development of new vervet models for research in obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Two cores have been organized to accomplish these aims. The Animal Resources Core will manage the animal care and breedingprogram, maintain the colony record system, disseminate information on husbandry and clinicalcharacteristics of vervet monkeys, and train veterinarians in the use of vervets for biomedical research. The research component of the Animal Resources Core will focus on increasing infant viability. The Genetics and BiobehavioralCore will provide access for local and national investigators to use the multigenerational VRC pedigree and extensive database of genetic and biobehavioral information available on individual animals, and will provide statistical genetics support for outside investigators to use this resource to find genes that influence biomedical traits. The research component of the Genetics and Biobehavioral Core will contribute to the development of the vervet as a model for obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. These efforts will generate critical information and provide access to animals and research opportunities that will expand the use of the vervet as an alternative nonhuman primate model for the study of human diseases and disorders.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
Animal (Mammalian and Nonmammalian) Model, and Animal and Biological Material Resource Grants (P40)
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National Center for Research Resources Initial Review Group (RIRG)
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Harding, John D
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Wake Forest University Health Sciences
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Chen, Jason A; Fears, Scott C; Jasinska, Anna J et al. (2018) Neurodegenerative disease biomarkers A?1-40, A?1-42, tau, and p-tau181 in the vervet monkey cerebrospinal fluid: Relation to normal aging, genetic influences, and cerebral amyloid angiopathy. Brain Behav 8:e00903
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Kuokkanen, Satu; Polotsky, Alex J; Chosich, Justin et al. (2016) Corpus luteum as a novel target of weight changes that contribute to impaired female reproductive physiology and function. Syst Biol Reprod Med 62:227-42
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