The rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) is one of the closest model organisms to Man.
Classification of the rhesus macaque
The rhesus macaque is an eukaryote, a mammal in the order of primates that belongs to the family of Cercopithecidae.
Characteristics of the rhesus macaque
This monkey is about 60 centimetres long, and males weigh 7 kilogrammes (females weigh less). It has a tail that measures about thirty centimetres. Its coat ranges from brown to grey, while its face is pink.
Rhesus macaques have a long gestation period (about 166 days) and give birth to only one young animal. They can live up to 25 years.
The rhesus macaque genome is sequenced, and it shares 93% of its sequence with Man.
Laboratory use of the rhesus macaque
The rhesus macaque is often used in medical research, and the rhesus factor (for red blood cells) was named after it. Macaques have been genetically modified and cloned.
The rhesus macaque is a model organism for scientists. © J.M.Garg/Licence Creative Commons