Yearly Archives - 2016

Distribution and prevalence of malaria parasites among long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) in regional populations across Southeast Asia


Background: Plasmodium knowlesi and Plasmodium cynomolgi are two malaria parasites naturally transmissible between humans and wild macaque through mosquito vectors, while Plasmodium inui can be experimentally trans‐ mitted from macaques to humans. One of their major natural hosts, the long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis), is host to two other species of Plasmodium (Plasmodium fieldi and Plasmodium coatneyi) and is widely distributed in Southeast Asia. This study aims to determine the distribution of wild macaques infected with malarial parasites by examining samples derived from seven populations in five countries across Southeast Asia. Methods: Plasmodium knowlesi, P. cynomolgi, P. coatneyi, P. inui and P. fieldi, were detected using nested PCR assays in DNA samples from 276 wild-caught long-tailed macaques. These samples had been derived from macaques captured at seven locations, two each in the Philippines (n = 68) and Indonesia (n = 70), and one each in Cambodia (n = 54), Singapore (n = 40) and Laos (n = 44). The results were compared with previous studies of malaria parasites in long- tailed macaques from other locations in Southeast Asia. Fisher exact test and Chi square test were used to examine the geographic bias of the distribution of Plasmodium species in the  macaque populations. Results: Out of 276 samples tested, 177 were Plasmodium-positive, with P. cynomolgi being the most common and widely distributed among all long-tailed macaque populations (53.3 %) and occurring in all populations examined, followed by P. coatneyi (20.4 %), P. inui (12.3 %), P. fieldi (3.4 %) and P. knowlesi (0.4 %). One P. knowlesi infection was detected in a macaque from Laos, representing the first documented case of P. knowlesi in wildlife in Laos. Chi square test showed three of the five parasites (P. knowlesi, P. coatneyi, P. cynomolgi) with significant bias in prevalence towards macaques from Malaysian Borneo, Cambodia, and Southern Sumatra, respectively. Conclusions: The prevalence of malaria parasites, including those that are transmissible to humans, varied among all sampled regional populations of long-tailed macaques in Southeast Asia. The new discovery of P. knowlesi infection in Laos, and the high prevalence of P. cynomolgi infections in wild macaques in general, indicate the strong need of public advocacy in related countries. Keywords: Plasmodium knowlesi, Plasmodium cynomolgi, Macaca fascicularis, Geographic distribution, Biased infection rate Read full article here: 2016_malaria-article

Authors “Xinjun Zhang1 , Khamisah Abdul Kadir2 , Leslie Fabiola Quintanilla‑Zariñan1 , Jason Villano3 , Paul Houghton4 , Hongli Du5 , Balbir Singh2* and David Glenn Smith1*”

Genetic Testing for Non-human Primates

The Kanthaswamy DNA Laboratory (KDL) at Arizona State University in collaboration with Primate Products, Inc. (PPI) is pleased to announce our new Genetic Testing Program. Working with state of the art technology, including Next Generation Sequencing platforms, the following genetic testing services are now currently being offered:

ABO Blood Phenotyping

Knowledge of the ABO blood type is used for metabolism studies and stem cell research as well as for recipient matching in blood transfusion and tissue/organ transplantation studies.


Primate breeders today have a limited male to female ratio. Juvenile growing groups are usually formed from related cohorts. Including related animals in a trial can bias the study’s results. This test estimates the relatedness/kinship between any one animal and any number of other animals. This is particularly of interest for multiple or specific import groups coming from one breeder. This test compares any single animal to all other animals in an import group multiple import groups of animals up to first cousin, or 1/8 relatedness.

Regional Origin and Ancestry

Animals of different ancestry and geographic regions can have genetic differences. These differences can cause varying responses to experimental factors and can confound study results. This test determines the geographic origin of the animals in question.


Animals may have admixed ancestry because they were derived from hybrid zones. For example, rhesus (Macaca mulatta) and cynomogus macaques (M. fascicularis) individuals originating from Indochina may exhibit varying degrees of rhesus and cynomolgus heritage because of hybridization between these species. Our test estimates the percentage of genome that is attributable to each species.


By Thomas J. Rowell

hendryOn July, 8th, 2016, Circuit Court Judge James D. Sloan released his ruling that there was no violation of the Florida Sunshine Law and found for the defendant, Hendry County, in an action lawsuit, which was filed in November of 2013 and amended in May of 2015.  Neighbors of a newly proposed facility on the Lee County border brought a lawsuit against the county alleging that because it never held hearings or told them about a primate facility being built in their neighborhood the county violated Florida's Sunshine Law. In November of 2013, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), on behalf of three Hendry County residents filed a lawsuit against Hendry County alleging Hendry County violated Florida Statutes 286.011(1) commonly referred to as the Florida Sunshine Law.  In their complaint they stated that a new nonhuman primate facility, which is proposed to be located in the northeast section of the County would “confine, quarantine, and breed thousands of wild and imported non-human primates (macaques) in a rural residential neighborhood”.   They further stated that “unlike domestic livestock, non-human primates are known carriers of a wide array of serious infectious diseases such as Ebola, Herpes B, tuberculosis, and parasites that may be transmitted to humans” in their complaint.  They sought to declare that Hendry County’s approval of the new facilities was void because it was not considered at a public hearing after adequate public notice, to have the courts issue an injunction mandating Hendry County to rescind its approval of the new facility permits, and to issue an injunction prohibiting Hendry County from approving future wild nonhuman primate facilities in general agriculture zoning without first conducting a public hearing. In May of 2015, the lawsuit was expanded to include a second company which entered into a contract with Primate Products Inc. (PPI) and resides on property owned by Panther Tracks LLC, which is also home for the PPI operation that has been in business for over 15 years at that location.  None of the three residents for which the suit had been filed on behalf of lived in close proximity of Panther Tracks (they were over 30 miles away in the far northeast section of the county) and one of the three residents had only purchased property in July of 2013, after building permits had been issued for the expansion at Panther Tracks LLC. Judge Sloan considered the following two points in his ruling:
  • Did actions taken by Hendry County violate the Florida Sunshine Law?
  • If not, had Hendry County violated the purpose and intent of the Sunshine Law by assigning or abdicating policy making function to staff?
In his legal reasoning he stated that no county commissioner, either alone or in tandem with any other commissioner attended any meetings, consulted or communicated with each other, or with either the new facility or Panther Tracks during any portion of the process approving either site development plans; therefore, nobody had engaged in a policy-making function, which may have required public meetings. In the ruling both parties had to concede that there was no definition for “animal husbandry” specifically set forth in Hendry County’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan nor in its Zoning Code; however, given the historical application as it was applied to other site development plans of a similar nature such intent could be concluded.  In addition, it was presented as evidence that in April of 2000 raising of monkeys was specifically authorized in writing in agriculture 2 zones by the late Eason Burchard, the Director of Hendry County Building and Zoning.  As noted in the ruling and presented as testimony in the trial, Hendry County has in the past permitted buffalo, turtles, alligators, tilapia and ostriches in agriculture zones. Primate Products Inc. is pleased with Judge Sloan’s ruling and is appreciative of the work performed by Hendry County staff.  Although PPI has encountered no problems in over 15 years with property owners who live and work adjacent to their site, the conflict between residential developments located within agricultural zones is not new. When an animal operation is in close proximity to residential development, complaints and problems can occur. We reiterate that there is no better place to find the knowledge of support agencies, mindset of workers, and community understanding of farming and livestock production and maintenance than in Hendry County Florida.  They have demonstrated once again that they stand by the agricultural life style and the rights provided to property owners as stated in their comprehensive plan and land development code. Judge Sloan's Ruling

Pine Cones: Natural, Destructible Enrichment Opportunities for NHPs

By Stefanie Nelsen

It is our responsibility and obligation to provide an environmental enhancement program that promotes for excellent animal welfare, specifically aimed at improving the psychological well-being of any nonhuman primate (NHP) in our care. We can accomplish this through appropriate behavioral observations, teaching our animals to be willing workers that cooperate with our human staff, and providing species specific and age appropriate enrichment opportunities that are biologically significant to the animals that we are enriching. This is done by focusing upon the 5 categories of enrichment: Social, Occupational, Structural, Sensory, and Nutritional.pinecone1 Pine cones fall under the occupational and sensory categories of enrichment. They are a natural item that the NHPs can touch, smell, look at, and even destroy. They encourage fine motor movements, such as foraging, which allows for the animal to exhibit species typical and appropriate behaviors.

pinecone2Pine cones can also be elevated in many ways, for example:
  •  Scent Enhanced (e.g. cinnamon, nutmeg, cilantro etc.)
  • Peanut Butter and More (e.g. add seeds, nuts, raisins etc.)
  • Color Enhanced (e.g. spray on color frosting)
  • Frozen (e.g. water and nuts or raisins, applesauce etc.)

For any questions on pine cones and/or suggestions on how to utilize a pine cone, please email

Zika Virus PPI Press Release


  To:      Media Contacts From:  Thomas J. Rowell DVM, President/COO Date:    12 February 2016 Re:       Zika Virus Recently the World Health Organization declared a “public health emergency of international concern” over the Zika virus and the health problems that doctors fear it’s causing. The agency said the emergency is warranted because of how fast the mosquito-borne virus is spreading and its suspected link to babies born with birth defects. The Florida health department has identified 18 Zika virus cases statewide, all which have been related to travel.  Florida health officials have yet to identify a single case related to vector (mosquito) transmission. As a result of reports that the vertebrate hosts of the virus is monkeys, with an enzootic mosquito- monkey-mosquito cycle, questions have arisen regarding the housing and importation of non-human primates and the potential exposure risk to the public. Primates imported into the United States undergo a mandatory 31-day quarantine after importation. This quarantine is done in an enclosed building or in a screened enclosure that keeps the animals away from mosquitoes. People working with the imported primates must wear personal protective equipment that includes coveralls, eye protection, and respiratory protection. Based on the research available, any animal that enters quarantine with a Zika virus infection or is exposed to Zika virus should have cleared the infection by the end of the quarantine period. Therefore, there should be no risk of infecting local mosquito populations from imported animals. It is also important to note that if Zika virus was spreading in people in areas where primates are housed outdoors, the animals could be infected with the virus. In this case organizations with outdoor housing would work with state and local authorities to develop a mosquito surveillance and management program at the facility to prevent the possible spread of Zika virus. Research utilizing primates and other animal models will be necessary for defining and understanding the pathogenesis of the virus, for establishing better diagnostics for detecting infection, and in vaccine development for disease prevention.  Primate Products Inc. will continue to provide critical resources that contributes to this and other research aimed at improving upon human health.

ABO Blood Phenotyping Services for Rhesus (Macaca mulatta) and Cynomolgus (Macaca fascucularis) Macaques

Primate Products, Inc., in collaboration with the Kanthaswamy DNA Laboratory at the Arizona State University and the Molecular Anthropology Laboratory at the UC Davis, is proud to announce our DNA-based ABO blood phenotyping service for rhesus and cynomolgus macaques. The increasingly frequent use of rhesus and cynomolgus macaques, which commonly exhibit the A, B and AB blood group phenotypes, as subjects in studies involving transplantation requires that blood and other tissue antigens of donors and recipients be ABO compatible. Our ABO blood phenotype screening service relates to researchers’ ability to avoid fatal immunological reactions during blood transfusion and tissue transplantation experiments with these species. Knowledge of the ABO blood phenotypes can also help exclude or minimize variables during research that can negatively influence results during these types of experimental studies. We developed a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method based on DNA sequence-specific priming (SSP) to accurately determine the ABO blood group phenotypes of rhesus and cynomolgus macaques by identifying mutations responsible for the A and B antigens. The O phenotype, while potentially useful as a universal donor, is moot for transplantation research in macaques owing to its rarity in macaques and the recessive condition of the O allele in heterozygotes. Our report to you identifies the A, B or AB blood group phenotype of each animal whose whole blood, buffy coat or DNA sample you send us. For inquiries on sample submission and explanation of the results please contact Heather Gengo at PPI ( ).