Evaluation and selection of microsatellite markers for an identification and parentage test of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus)
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Numbers of the Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) population are declining due to poaching, human-elephant conflicts, capture of wild calves for tourism and export and habitat destruction, which also may cause inbreeding in fragmented populations. In order to contribute to a reversal of this trend, we have developed an identification and parentage test by evaluation and selection of markers from 43 microsatellite loci that have been previously described for Asian or African elephants. Testing these markers on a panel of 169 Asian elephants comprising the 23 mother-offspring, 13 father-offspring and 13 parents-offspring pairs yielded 26 polymorphic markers. However, only 14 of these were found to be suitable for an analysis of molecular diversity, 12 of which will be implemented for an identification and parentage test to control the capture of wild calves in Thailand and neighboring countries.
KeywordsAsian elephant Parentage test Identification Genetic diversity test Microsatellite
We are grateful to Dr. S. Mahasawankul, National Elephant Institute, Mr. S. Dardarananda, Elephant Reintroduction Foundation, Mr. C. Kalmapijit, Maesa Elephant camp, Thailand, Dr. W. Schaftenaar, Blijdorp Zoo (Rotterdam) Dr. M. Hoyer, Artis Zoo (Amsterdam) Dr. A. Klarenbeek, Noorder Dierenpark (Emmen) Dr. J. Kaandorp, Safaripark Beekse Bergen and Dr. B. Martina, Erasmus University, The Netherlands for providing blood and DNA samples. We thank Ms. L. van Cann and Dr. I.J. Nijman, Utrecht University, The Netherlands, and Dr. Benoit Goossens, Cardiff University, United Kingdom for useful discussions.
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