Navigation Links
Genetic analysis of Asian elephants in India reveals some surprises

Researchers in India and from The Earth Institute at Columbia University have discovered that one of the few remaining populations of Asian elephants in India is actually two genetically distinct groups. The results of the study, which appear in the current issue of the journal Animal Conservation, could have far-reaching implications in conservation plans for the endangered elephants as well as other species on the Subcontinent.

Prithiviraj Fernando, a post-doctoral researcher at the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation (CERC), and Don Melnick, executive director of CERC, together with colleagues from the Centre for Ecological Science at the Indian Institute of Science collected dung samples from nearly 300 wild Asian elephants and 30 captive elephants for which reliable capture information existed. They then examined DNA from the samples and found that, of the distinct populations found in India, the groups that inhabit the forests in the northeast of the country is actually composed of two genetically distinct populations separated by the Brahmaputra River.

Despite the low and declining numbers of Asian elephants, relatively little is known about their genetic diversity--information that is crucial to plans for preserving the species. An earlier study of elephants in southern India by the same group identified two distinct populations where there was previously thought to be only one. A region known as the Palghat Gap, a wide pass through the Western Ghat mountain range, was found to act a biogeographical barrier between the two in that case.

"It is interesting that the Brahmaputra seems to have been a biogeographical barrier for several species," the authors write in their most recent study. "Population genetic studies of other species would be helpful in corroborating whether the Palghat Gap and the Brahmaputra River have served as important biogeographical barriers to a broad range of taxa and thus should be considered in future conservation planning."

The Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) is recognized by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as an endangered species, with an estimated 22,700 to 32,400 individuals remaining, more than half of which are in India. Elephant numbers throughout Asia have declined drastically over the last several hundred years, mainly due to habitat loss and fragmentation, capture and domestication, and, more recently, poaching of males for ivory.

To combat these declines, India established 11 so-called "elephant ranges" that incorporate more than half of the known elephant habitat. Fewer than half of these ranges, however, offer the much stricter protections provided by wildlife sanctuaries or national parks. Moreover, India is projected to overtake China as the world's most populous country by 2030, a fact that almost certain to bring about increased competition for space between humans and elephants.

Still, Melnick and his colleagues are confident that their work represents a crucial step in efforts to protect an animal that is deeply rooted in Indian culture. "If we are going to find a way to protect elephants for future generations, we need to preserve the greatest genetic diversity possible." says Melnick. "We're just acting blind if we don't know where that diversity is. This study shows us where we need to focus our efforts."


'"/>

Source:The Earth Institute at Columbia University


Related biology news :

1. Novel Asthma Study Shows Multiple Genetic Input Required; Single-gene Solution Shot Down
2. Genetically modified natural killer immune cells attack, kill leukemia cells
3. Ants Genetic Engineering Leads To Species Interdependency
4. Genetic Variation Visualization - From EMBL
5. Genetically modified rice in China benefits farmers health, study finds
6. Infants With Rare Genetic Disease Saved by Cord Blood Stem Cells
7. Genetically Modified Natural Killer Immune Cells Attack, Kill Leukemia Cells
8. Genetic defects give the immune system the green light to attack the pancreas
9. Maine Researchers Find Exceptions to Old Rules of Genetic Inheritance
10. Genetic therapy reverses nervous system damage in animal model of inherited human disease
11. Infants with Rare Genetic Disease Saved By Cord Blood Stem Cells
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/14/2016)... BioCatch ™, the global ... the appointment of Eyal Goldwerger as CEO. ... Goldwerger,s leadership appointment comes at a time of significant ... of its platform at several of the world,s largest ... unique cognitive and physiological factors, is a winner of ...
(Date:3/31/2016)...  Genomics firm Nabsys has completed a financial  restructuring ... , M.D., who returned to the company in October ... team, including Chief Technology Officer, John Oliver , ... and Vice President of Software and Informatics, Michael ... Dr. Bready served as CEO of Nabsys from 2005-2014 ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... PUNE, India , March 22, 2016 ... new market research report "Electronic Sensors Market for ... Fingerprint, Proximity, & Others), Application (Communication & ... and Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", ... consumer industry is expected to reach USD ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... Lawrence, MA (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 ... ... the Peel Plate® YM (Yeast and Mold) microbial test has received AOAC Research ... test platform of microbial tests introduced last year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June, 23, 2016  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), ... new ways to harness living systems and biotechnology, announced ... (MoMA) in New York City . ... participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater ... Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of architecture and design, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... announced the launch of the Supplyframe Design Lab . Located in Pasadena, ... explore the future of how hardware projects are designed, built and brought to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... In a new case report ... detail how a patient who developed lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer benefitted ... change the paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer treatment. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: