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Genetic diversity in the North American captive African elephant collection


  • Editor: Nicolas Volff

Rick A. Brenneman, Grewcock Center for Conservation and Research, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, 3701 South 10th Street, Omaha, NE 68107, USA. Fax: 402 733 0490


One hundred and eight mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences were used in combination with multilocus genotypes generated from 19 nuclear microsatellite loci to assess the genetic diversity in the North American captive African elephant collection. The analysis of 4488 bp of mitochondrial nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide hydrogenenase subunit 4-cytochrome b (ND4-cyt b) sequence revealed the existence of three distinct mtDNA lineages (Haplogroups I–III). The genetic distance between Haplogroups I/II and Haplogroup III was determined to be 0.046. The nucleotide diversity for the elephant mtDNA ND4-cyt b was <0.004. Analysis of multilocus genotypes indicated an average observed heterozygosity of 0.53 compared with the expected heterozygosity of 0.64. No subdivision in the data was detected including data partitioned by mtDNA haplogroup. Relatedness among the 108 individuals did not differ from that expected in random mating populations.