Just created a new of elephant?
Nuclear DNA already different in males of Asian elephants
The Asian elephant is possibly going to divide into two types. Indications, an analysis of the genetic material of 78 Thai elephants. In particular, in the genotype of the males, the researchers noted a divergence of gene pools.
Asian elephants have retreated in recent centuries from large parts of the Asian continent or have been displaced and come in large numbers only in India and Southeast Asian countries like Thailand or Laos before. Currently still about 50,000 animals live in the wild, but hunt for ivory and habitat destruction make Elephas maximus to a highly endangered species. Form spatially isolated populations, can additionally adjust reproductive problems caused by a drifting apart of the gene pool.
Researchers at the Berlin Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (VIC) have a study found evidence that the Asian elephant is actually going to develop in two species. According to the investigation of the genetic material of 78 Thai elephant (Elephas maximus) have a divergence of gene pools showed that was seen in elephants, explains study leader Dr. Jörn Fickel from VIC. Since these creeping divergence of species is also observed in mixed flocks with no physical separation, the Asian Elephant on the road to division into two species could be.
Different nuclear DNA in males
It has been known that it is possible that Asian elephants sharing with regard to the DNA of the mitochondria into two groups. The cell nucleus DNA, the actual gene pool of the species, but was thought to be largely homogeneous. The researchers led by evolutionary biologist Fickel studied the nuclear DNA on so-called microsatellites, often repetitive gene sequences of smaller length.
You an astonishing manifestation emerged:. "We have sorted the results in the two known groups of mitochondrial DNA and could only no significant differences in genotype notice" explains Fickel "But if we compare the female and male animals separated, is in the males, the difference suddenly obvious. " The males mated statistically significantly more frequent in the genetic subgroup and thus began to form two drifting apart gene pool. This is true among scientists as a confirmation of the onset of speciation.
. "This is consistent with the doctrine, according to which genetic developments in mammals Always manifest in males," said the researcher, he adds: "The fact that we can study a species in exactly this stage, is a rarity." The study was developed in cooperation with Thai colleagues the Faculty of Veterinary Science Mahidol University in Salaya.
(Leibniz Association, 16.04.2008 - NPO)
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Genetics elephants speciation Darwin evolutionary biology Asia Species Zoology
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