Vitamin C biosynthesis in prosimians: evidence for the anthropoid affinity of Tarsius

American Journal of Physical Anthropology
J I Pollock, R J Mullin


This report examines the taxonomic distribution of the in vitro biosynthesis of ascorbic acid in the Prosimii (Order: Primates). Liver and kidney samples of 15 prosimian taxa, including Tarsius bancanus, were quantitatively tested for the enzyme L-gulono-1,4-lactone oxidase. Liver samples from all taxa except Tarsius had substantial levels of the enzyme. Furthermore, unlike other eutherian mammals, kidney tissue from members of the family Lemuridae showed low but consistent levels of enzyme activity. The result for Tarsius, by fitting with the pattern exhibited by the monkeys, apes, and man, adds significant independent evidence for this animal's relatively close genetic relationship with the Anthropoidea.


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