Myanmar has approximately 6,000 working elephants. Remaining wild elephants are declining, partly because of live-capture for captivity. Through health and reproductive assessments, genetic analyses and GPS tracking of captive and wild elephants, we are exploring linkages between the two populations and conducting studies to reduce morbidity and mortality of captive elephants. Captive elephants live and work in Myanmar's forests in close proximity and contact to the remaining wild herds.
In 1995, 3 Sumatran elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus) died suddenly of clostridial infection in the Way Kambas National Park, Lampung province, Indonesia. Postmortem examination revealed that the gastrointestinal tracts of all 3 animals were also infected with Murshidia falcifera (Nematoda), Hawkesius hawkesi and Pfenderius papillatus (Digenea) and Cobboldia elephantis (Diptera). The elephant louse, Haematomyzus elephantis, was a common cause of dermatopathy in elephants kept in the national park.
The delta-globin gene (HBD) of eutherian mammals exhibits a propensity for recombinational exchange with the closely linked beta-globin gene (HBB) and has been independently converted by the HBB gene in multiple lineages. Here we report the presence of a chimeric beta/delta fusion gene in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) that was created by unequal crossing-over between misaligned HBD and HBB paralogs.
Interpreting the evolution of neuronal types in the cerebral cortex of mammals requires information from a diversity of species. However, there is currently a paucity of data from the Xenarthra and Afrotheria, two major phylogenetic groups that diverged close to the base of the eutherian mammal adaptive radiation.
Retroposons such as short interspersed elements (SINEs) and long interspersed elements are abundant transposable elements in eukaryote genomes. Recent large-scale comparative genome analyses have revealed that retroposons are a major component of genomes, wherein they provide structural diversity between species and uniqueness to each species. SINEs have been used as powerful markers in phylogenetic analyses of various species.