Ba-da-bing, ba-da baboon

The Guinea baboon, Papio papio, is one of the smallest of all baboon species. While male Guinea baboons are larger than their female counterparts, they still typically reach a maximum height just under 3 feet tall [1]. They're covered in reddish brown fur with the exception of their faces and their rumps which are bright pink. Only male Guinea baboons possess the impressive large canines, another instance of sexual dimorphism in this species [2].


Like many primate species, Guinea baboons have complex social structures and can live in large communities, sometimes as many as 200 individuals [3]! Most often, Guinea baboons live in one male unit (OMUs) with a harem of female baboons to mate with. Sexually mature male baboons leave their familial groups to form All Male Units (AMUs). Different OMUs may congregate to form larger groups depending on resources or other environmental circumstances [4].

Baboon by Cloudtail the Snow leopard, [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0], via flickr.com

Today, we share the chromosome-length genome assembly for the Guinea baboon, Papio papio. This genome assembly was generated using data from a primary fibroblast cell line from the T.C. Hsu Cryo-Zoo at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, originally frozen in 1978. Check out our Methods page for assembly procedure details and stay tuned, as always, for more chromosome-length genome assemblies from the T.C. Hsu Cryo-Zoo collection!


Check out below how the chromosomes in the guinea baboon relate to those of humans (~29MY to common ancestor, per timtree.org), and explore the interactive contact map of the chromosomes. Find out more on the corresponding assembly page!

Whole-genome alignment plot between the new chromosome-length assembly for the guinea baboon (Papio_papio_HiC, 2n=42) and the human genome assembly (GRCh38, 2n=46).

Correction: the original version of the blog post stated that the Guinea baboon was the smallest of all baboons. It is in fact one of the smallest, with Kinda baboons having smaller average body mass [5].