Primates, as long-lived, socially complex mammals, offer one of the best opportunities to assess the effects of sociality on population genetic structure. For this reason, I have sought to understand the factors underlying the genetic structures of primate populations. In turn, I am using this information to (1) model the dynamics of genetic change; (2) address questions concerning rates of genetic change; and (3) examine the assumptions used to construct molecular phylogenies and date cladogenic events. Specifically, my research has focused on the genus Macaca, and the evolutionary genetic consequences of the extreme female philopatry (sedentism) exhibited by its members. Allozymes, microsatellites, y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA polymorphisms have been the main sources of data. For the past 15 years my research has also included the population genetics, molecular systematics and conservation of Asian leaf-monkeys, Asian and African rhinoceros and other endangered mammals.
1992. With Hoelzer, G.A. "Differences in male and female macaque dispersal lead to contrasting distributions of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA variation." International Journal of Primatology. 13:379-393.
1993. With G.A. Hoelzer, R. Absher, and M.V. Ashley."MtDNA diversity in rhesusmonkeys reveals overestimates of divergence time and paraphyly with neighboring species." Molecular Biology and Evolution. 10:282-295.
1996. With Hoelzer, G.A."Genetic consequences of macaque social organization and behavior." In J. E. Fa and D.G. Lindburg (eds.), Evolution and Ecology of Macaque Societies. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 412-442.
Hoelzer, G. A., Wallman, J., and Melnick, D.J., 1998. The effects of social structure, geographical structure and population size on the evolution of mitochondrial DNA. II. Molecular clocks and the lineage sorting period. Journal of Molecular Evolution, 47: 21-31.
Gonder, M.K., Oates, J.R., Disotell, T.R., Forstner, M.R.J., Morales, J.C., and Melnick, D.J., 1997. A new species of west African chimpanzee? Nature, 388: 337.
Rosenblum, L. L., Supriatna, J., Hasan, M.N., and Melnick, D.J., 1997. High mitochondrial DNA diversity with little structure within and among leaf monkey populations (Trachypithecus cristatus and Trachypithecus auratus). Int. J. Primatol., 18: 1005-1028.
Andayani, N., Morales, J.C., Forstner, M.R.J., Supriatna, J. and Melnick, D. J. 2001. Genetic variability in mitochondrial DNA of the Javan gibbon (Hylobates moloch): Implications for the conservation of a critically endangered species. Conservation Biology, 15: 770-775.
Tosi, A.J., Morales, J.C. and Melnick, D.J. 2003. Paternal, maternal, and biparental molecular markers provide unique windows onto the evolutionary history of macaque monkeys. Evolution. 57: 1419-1435.
Evans, B.J., Supriatna, J., Andayani, N., Setiadi, M.I., Cannatella, D.C., and Melnick, D.J. 2003. Monkeys and toads define areas of endemism on Sulawesi. Evolution. 57: 1436-1443.
Evans, B.J., Supriatna, J., Andayani, N., and Melnick, D.J. 2003. Diversification of Sulawesi macaque monkeys: Decoupled evolution of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA. Evolution. 57: 1931-1946.