Faster than Usain Bolt

The patas monkey, Erythrocebus patas, is the fastest monkey in the world! They're able to sprint from zero to 35 miles per hour in just 3 seconds [1]. In contrast, the world's fastest man, Usain Bolt, only reached speeds of 28.45 mph in 7 seconds in the 2008 Beijing Olympics [2]. Unlike many other monkeys, their slender bodies and long limbs are morphologically suited for terrestrial movement and speed rather than for arboreal movement.

The patas monkey usually lives in large, sexually segregated groups of around 40 to 60 individuals. The female troops are mostly female with one male who serves as a protector and occasionally a mate. Male monkeys live separately in their own groups of a similar size. During the breeding season, the male and female groups will meet and mate. While female patas monkeys stay in their troop for their whole lives, male patas will leave their maternal groups once they reach sexual maturity [3].

Patas monkey by Nik Barrow, [CC BY-NC 2.0], via

Today, we release the chromosome-length genome assembly for the patas monkey. This is a $1K de novo genome assembly with a contig n50 = 55 KB and a scaffold n50 = 100 MB. For assembly procedure details, please check out our Methods page. We thank Cassie, the patas monkey at the Houston Zoo, for donating a blood sample for this genome assembly. Read more about Cassie here!

Check out below how the chromosomes in the new assembly relate to those of the olive baboon, a relatively close relative of the patas monkey with assembled chromosomes (genome assembly Panu_3.0 from the Human Genome Sequencing Center, ~10MY to common ancestor), and to human chromosomes (GRCh38, ~25MY to common ancestor).

Whole-genome alignment plot between Panu_3.0, a chromosome-length genome assembly for the olive baboon from HGSC, and Erythrocebus_patas_HiC, the patas monkey genome assembly.
Whole-genome alignment plot between the new patas monkey genome assembly (Erythrocebus_patas_HiC) and human chromosomes (hg38).

We're not monkeying around here at the DNA Zoo: this is the 10th primate species we've released on our website! If you're interested in more monkey genomes, check out, e.g. these pages for the Allen's swamp monkey and the Bolivian squirrel monkey, and don't forget to reach out if you have interesting primate samples!

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