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Open Access Effects of Maternal and Infant Characteristics on Birth Weight and Gestation Length in a Colony of Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta)

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A retrospective study using maternal and birth statistics from an open, captive rhesus macaque colony was done to determine the effects of parity, exposure to simian retrovirus (SRV), housing, maternal parity, and maternal birth weight on infant birth weight, viability and gestation length. Retrospective colony statistics for a 23-y period indicated that birth weight, but not gestation length, differed between genders. Adjusted mean birth weights were higher in nonviable infants. Mothers positive for SRV had shorter gestations, but SRV exposure did not affect neonatal birth weights or viability. Infants born in cages had longer gestations than did those born in pens, but neither birth weight nor viability differed between these groups. Maternal birth weight did not correlate with infant birth weight but positively correlated with gestation length. Parity was correlated with birth weight and decreased viability. Increased parity of the mother was associated with higher birth weight of the infant. A transgenerational trend toward increasing birth weight was noted. The birth statistics of this colony were consistent with those of other macaque colonies. Unlike findings for humans, maternal birth weight had little predictive value for infant outcomes in rhesus macaques. Nonviable rhesus infants had higher birth weights, unlike their human counterparts, perhaps due to gestational diabetes occurring in a sedentary caged population. Similar to the situation for humans, multiparity had a protective effect on infant viability in rhesus macaques.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Research Resources, The Mannheimer Foundation, Homestead, Florida 2: Division of Laboratory Animal Resources, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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