It is important to characterise the amount of variation on the mammalian Y chromosome in order to assess its potential for use in evolutionary studies. We report very low levels of polymorphism on the Y chromosome of Saudi-Arabian hamadryas baboons, Papio hamadryas hamadryas. We found no segregating sites on the Y, despite sequence analysis of 3 kb noncontiguous intron sequence in 16 males with divergent autosomal microsatellite genotypes, and a further analysis of 1.1 kb intron sequence in 97 males from four populations by SSCP. In addition, we tested seven human-derived Y-linked microsatellites in baboons. Only four of these loci were male-specific and only one was polymorphic in our 97 male sample set. Polymorphism on the Y chromosome of Arabian hamadryas appears to be low compared to other primate species for which data are available (eg humans, chimpanzees and bonobos). Low effective population size (Ne) of paternal genes due to polygyny and female-biased adult sex ratio is a potential reason for low Y chromosome variation in this species. However, low Ne for the Y should be counterbalanced to some extent by the species' atypical pattern of male philopatry and female-biased dispersal. Allelic richness averaged over seven loci was not significantly different between an African and an Arabian population, suggesting that loss of variation during the colonisation of Arabia does not explain low Y variation. Finally, in the absence of nucleotide polymorphism, it is unclear to what extent selection could be responsible for low Y variation in this species.
Lawson Handley, L. J., Hammond, R. L., Emaresi, G., Reber, A., & Perrin, N. (2006). Low Y chromosome variation in Saudi-Arabian hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas hamadryas). Heredity, 96(4), 298-303. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.hdy.6800803