MGAP: The macaque genotype and phenotype resource, a framework for accessing and interpreting macaque variant data, and identifying new models of human disease

Benjamin N. Bimber, Melissa Y. Yan, Samuel M. Peterson, Betsy Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Non-human primates (NHPs), particularly macaques, serve as critical and highly relevant pre-clinical models of human disease. The similarity in human and macaque natural disease susceptibility, along with parallel genetic risk alleles, underscores the value of macaques in the development of effective treatment strategies. Nonetheless, there are limited genomic resources available to support the exploration and discovery of macaque models of inherited disease. Notably, there are few public databases tailored to searching NHP sequence variants, and no other database making use of centralized variant calling, or providing genotype-level data and predicted pathogenic effects for each variant. Results: The macaque Genotype And Phenotype (mGAP) resource is the first public website providing searchable, annotated macaque variant data. The mGAP resource includes a catalog of high confidence variants, derived from whole genome sequence (WGS). The current mGAP release at time of publication (1.7) contains 17,087,212 variants based on the sequence analysis of 293 rhesus macaques. A custom pipeline was developed to enable annotation of the macaque variants, leveraging human data sources that include regulatory elements (ENCODE, RegulomeDB), known disease- or phenotype-associated variants (GRASP), predicted impact (SIFT, PolyPhen2), and sequence conservation (Phylop, PhastCons). Currently mGAP includes 2767 variants that are identical to alleles listed in the human ClinVar database, of which 276 variants, spanning 258 genes, are identified as pathogenic. An additional 12,472 variants are predicted as high impact (SnpEff) and 13,129 are predicted as damaging (PolyPhen2). In total, these variants are predicted to be associated with more than 2000 human disease or phenotype entries reported in OMIM (Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man). Importantly, mGAP also provides genotype-level data for all subjects, allowing identification of specific individuals harboring alleles of interest. Conclusions: The mGAP resource provides variant and genotype data from hundreds of rhesus macaques, processed in a consistent manner across all subjects ( Together with the extensive variant annotations, mGAP presents unprecedented opportunity to investigate potential genetic associations with currently characterized disease models, and to uncover new macaque models based on parallels with human risk alleles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number176
JournalBMC Genomics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 6 2019


  • Animal model
  • Database
  • Genome
  • Indian-origin
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Nonhuman primate
  • Rhesus
  • SNP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics


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