Utility of maternal serum total testosterone analysis for fetal gender determination in asian elephants (Elephas maximus)


It has been shown in some species that fetal testes produce testosterone early in gestation. This study investigated the possibility that fetal testosterone may be reflected in maternal serum levels in the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Weekly serum samples were collected from seventeen pregnant captive Asian elephants and analyzed via radioimmunoassay (RIA) for total testosterone levels. Nine of the cows carried male fetuses and eight carried female fetuses. A non-random pattern over time (P < 0.01) was observed in cows carrying either a male or female fetus. Mean maternal serum total testosterone was significantly higher in cows carrying male versus female fetuses (P < 0.01). Mean trimester values indicate that first trimester values are not significantly different among male versus female groups. The second and third trimester values of cows carrying male fetuses were higher than cows carrying female fetuses, (P < 0.01 and < 0.05, respectively). The results of this study show that it is possible via RIA of maternal serum for total testosterone to determine the gender of calves during gestation.


Animal Science

Document Type





Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), Gender differentiation, Total testosterone

Publication Date


Journal Title

Animal Reproduction Science