Thesis Title

Molecular Analysis of the Managed Population of African and Asian Elephants


Don W. Harms

Date of Graduation

Summer 2006


Master of Natural and Applied Science in Agriculture


College of Agriculture

Committee Chair

Dennis Schmitt


Conservation genetics is an applied science that focuses DNA technology on the description of the genomes of small, endangered populations. In order to preserve endangered species, a better understanding of their population structure and mating system must be ascertained. Using sequencing analysis, a mitochondrial DNA map of the NADH dehydrogenase 5-6 region was generated. This map was used as a template to examine the genetic relatedness of the captive elephant population. Mitochondrial DNA(mtDNA) markers were designed for complete amplification of the region. Sequencing data was generated using an ABI 377 automated sequencer. The sequences were aligned using Sequencher® (Gene Codes Corporation, Ann Arbor, MI) and MacVector® 6.5 (Oxford Molecular Ltd.). The mitochondrial genome map was generated using consensus sequence of ten African and one Asian elephant. Comparative analysis was conducted using the Human genomic mitochondrial map. The elephant NADH dehydrogenase 5-6 region of mitochondrial DNA consists of 2336 base pairs (1811 base pair comprise ND 5 and 525bp encompass the ND6 region). All of ND4 (̃1580bp), and part of Cytochrome b, was analyzed for comparison (̃428bp). Phylogenic analysis reveals limited variability (p<.05) among ten founder, African elephants. Four separate Haplotypes were confirmed, representing animals from Central and East Africa.


elephant, ND5, molecular, sequence, DNA, mitochondrial, Haplotype

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© Don W. Harms