Endotheliotropic herpesvirus causes a fatal disease in young Asian elephants, but there are no methods for identifying latent carriers of the virus. During the postmortem study of one female African elephant and three male and two female Asian elephants, a lymph node located bilaterally caudoventral to the parotid gland, approximately 1.5 to 5 cm below the skin, was identified as suitable for transcutaneous ultrasound-guided biopsy.
Bivitellobilharzia nairi (Mudaliar and Ramanujachar, 1945) Dutt and Srivastava, 1955 was first recorded in India. A number of adult worm specimens of this schistosome species were recovered from a domestic elephant, which died in 1999 in Sri Lanka. This is the first report of this schistosome from Sri Lanka.
Two hundred and thirty-six mitochondrial DNA nucleotide sequences were used in combination with polymorphism at four nuclear microsatellite loci to assess the amount and distribution of genetic variation within and between African savannah elephants. They were sampled from 11 localities in eastern, western and southern Africa. In the total sample, 43 haplotypes were identified and an overall nucleotide diversity of 2.0% was observed.
It was found that PCR primers that amplified a segment of the mitochondrial control region from blood samples from African and Asian elephants mainly amplified integrated nuclear copies of mitochondrial DNA in hair samples. It is concluded that, in some species under some circumstances, DNA from hair may yield unreliable results.
The crystal structure of Asian elephant cyano-metmyoglobin which has a glutamine instead of the usual distal site histidine has been determined to high resolution. In addition to this replacement, the substitution of a conserved leucine residue in position 29(B10) at the distal side by a phenylalanine was unambiguously identified based on the available electron density. The suspicion, that there were errors in the original sequence which has caused some confusion, is thus confirmed.