Critique of pure marmoset

Bibliographic Collection: 
CARTA-Inspired Publication
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Preuss, Todd M.
Year of Publication: 2019
Journal: Brain Behav Evol
Volume: 93
Start Page: 92
Issue: 1
Pagination: 92-107
Date Published: 09/2019
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 0003-2697
Keywords: Brain evolution,

The common marmoset, a New World (platyrrhine) monkey, is currently being fast-tracked as a non-human primate model species, especially for genetic modification but also as a general-purpose model for research on the brain and behavior bearing on the human condition. Compared to the currently dominant primate model, the catarrhine macaque monkey, marmosets are notable for certain evolutionary specializations, including their propensity for twin births, their very small size (a result of phyletic dwarfism), and features related to their small size (rapid development and relatively short lifespan), which result in these animals yielding experimental results more rapidly and at lower cost. Macaques, however, have their own advantages. Importantly, macaques are more closely related to humans (which are also catarrhine primates) than are marmosets, sharing approximately 20 million more years of common descent, and are demonstrably more similar to humans in a variety of genomic, molecular, and neurobiological characteristics. Furthermore, the very specializations of marmosets that make them attractive as experimental subjects, such as their rapid development and short lifespan, are ways in which marmosets differ from humans and in which macaques more closely resemble humans. These facts warrant careful consideration of the trade-offs between convenience and cost, on the one hand, and biological realism, on the other, in choosing between non-human primate models of human biology. Notwithstanding the advantages marmosets offer as models, prudence requires continued commitm