During the last decades, New World monkey (NWM, Platyrrhini, Anthropoideae) comparative cytogenetics has shed light on many fundamental aspects of genome organisation and evolution in this fascinating, but also highly endangered group of neotropical primates. In this review, we first provide an overview about the evolutionary origin of the inferred ancestral NWM karyotype of 2n = 54 chromosomes and about the lineage-specific chromosome rearrangements resulting in the highly divergent karyotypes of extant NWM species, ranging from 2n = 16 in a titi monkey to 2n = 62 in a woolly monkey. Next, we discuss the available data on the chromosome phylogeny of NWM in the context of recent molecular phylogenetic analyses. In the last part, we highlight some recent research on the molecular mechanisms responsible for the large-scale evolutionary genomic changes in platyrrhine monkeys.
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