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Sample records for african elephant populations

  1. Freezing African Elephant Semen as a New Population Management Tool

    PubMed Central

    Hermes, Robert; Saragusty, Joseph; Göritz, Frank; Bartels, Paul; Potier, Romain; Baker, Barbara; Streich, W. Jürgen; Hildebrandt, Thomas B.

    2013-01-01

    Background The captive elephant population is not self-sustaining and with a limited number of breeding bulls, its genetic diversity is in decline. One way to overcome this is to import young and healthy animals from the wild. We introduce here a more sustainable alternative method - importation of semen from wild bulls without removing them from their natural habitat. Due to the logistics involved, the only practical option would be to transport cryopreserved sperm. Despite some early reports on African elephant semen cryopreservation, the utility of this new population management tool has not been evaluated. Methodology/Principal Findings Semen was collected by electroejaculation from 14 wild African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) bulls and cryopreserved using the directional freezing technique. Sperm treatments evaluated included the need for centrifugation, the use of hen or quail yolk, the concentration of glycerol (3%, 5% or 7%) in the extender, and maintenance of motility over time after thawing. Our results suggest that dilution in an extender containing hen yolk and 7% glycerol after centrifugation best preserved post-thaw sperm motility when compared to all other treatments (P≤0.012 for all). Using this approach we were able to achieve after thawing (mean ± SD) 54.6±3.9% motility, 85.3±2.4% acrosome integrity, and 86.8±4.6% normal morphology with no decrease in motility over 1 h incubation at 37°C. Sperm cryopreserved during this study has already lead to a pregnancy of a captive female elephant following artificial insemination. Conclusions/Significance With working techniques for artificial insemination and sperm cryopreservation of both African and Asian elephants in hand, population managers can now enrich captive or isolated wild elephant populations without removing valuable individuals from their natural habitat. PMID:23483917

  2. Legal ivory trade in a corrupt world and its impact on African elephant populations.

    PubMed

    Bennett, Elizabeth L

    2015-02-01

    Illegal hunting of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) for ivory is causing rapid declines in their populations. Since 2007, illegal ivory trade has more than doubled. African elephants are facing the most serious conservation crisis since 1989, when international trade was banned. One solution proposed is establishment of a controlled legal trade in ivory. High prices for ivory mean that the incentives to obtain large quantities are high, but the quantity of tusks available for trade are biologically constrained. Within that context, effective management of a legal ivory trade would require robust systems to be in place to ensure that ivory from illegally killed elephants cannot be laundered into a legal market. At present, that is not feasible due to corruption among government officials charged with implementing wildlife-related legislation. With organized criminal enterprises involved along the whole commodity chain, corruption enables the laundering of illegal ivory into legal or potentially legal markets. Poachers and traffickers can rapidly pay their way out of trouble, so the financial incentives to break the law heavily outweigh those of abiding by it. Maintaining reliable permitting systems and leak-proof chains of custody in this context is challenging, and effective management breaks down. Once illegal ivory has entered the legal trade, it is difficult or impossible for enforcement officers to know what is legal and illegal. Addressing corruption throughout a trade network that permeates countries across the globe will take decades, if it can ever be achieved. That will be too late for wild African elephants at current rates of loss. If we are to conserve remaining wild populations, we must close all markets because, under current levels of corruption, they cannot be controlled in a way that does not provide opportunities for illegal ivory being laundered into legal markets.

  3. Genetic relatedness and disrupted social structure in a poached population of African elephants.

    PubMed

    Gobush, Kathleen; Kerr, Ben; Wasser, Samuel

    2009-02-01

    We use genetic measures of relatedness and observations of female bonding to examine the demographic signature of historically heavy poaching of a population of free-ranging African elephants. We collected dung samples to obtain DNA and observed behaviour from 102 elephant families over a 25-month period in 2003-2005 in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania. Poaching reduced the population by 75% in the decade prior to the 1989 ivory trade ban; park records indicate that poaching dropped significantly in Mikumi following the ban. Using 10 microsatellite loci, DNA was genotyped in 203 elephants and pair-wise relatedness was calculated among adult females within and between groups. The Mikumi population is characterized by small group size, considerable variation in group relatedness, females with no first-order adult relatives and females that form only weak social bonds. We used gene-drop analysis and a model of a genetically intact pedigree to compare our observed Mikumi group relatedness to a simulated genetically intact unpoached expectation. The majority of groups in Mikumi contain 2 to 3 adults; of these, 45% were classified as genetically disrupted. Bonding, quantified with a pair-wise association index, was significantly correlated with relatedness; however only half of the females formed strong bonds with other females, and relatedness was substantially lower for a given bond strength as compared to an unpoached population. Female African elephants without kin demonstrated considerable behavioural plasticity in this disturbed environment, grouping with other females lacking kin, with established groups, or remaining alone, unable to form any stable adult female-bonds. We interpret these findings as the remaining effect of poaching disturbance in Mikumi, despite a drop in the level of poaching since the commercial trade in ivory was banned 15 years ago.

  4. Radiocarbon dating of seized ivory confirms rapid decline in African elephant populations and provides insight into illegal trade.

    PubMed

    Cerling, Thure E; Barnette, Janet E; Chesson, Lesley A; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Gobush, Kathleen S; Uno, Kevin T; Wasser, Samuel K; Xu, Xiaomei

    2016-11-22

    Carbon-14 measurements on 231 elephant ivory specimens from 14 large ivory seizures (≥0.5 ton) made between 2002 and 2014 show that most ivory (ca 90%) was derived from animals that had died less than 3 y before ivory was confiscated. This indicates that the assumption of recent elephant death for mortality estimates of African elephants is correct: Very little "old" ivory is included in large ivory shipments from Africa. We found only one specimen of the 231 analyzed to have a lag time longer than 6 y. Patterns of trade differ by regions: East African ivory, based on genetic assignments of geographic origin, has a much higher fraction of "rapid" transit than ivory originating in the Tridom region of Cameroon-Gabon-Congo. Carbon-14 is an important tool in understanding patterns of movement of illegal wildlife products.

  5. Radiocarbon dating of seized ivory confirms rapid decline in African elephant populations and provides insight into illegal trade

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cerling, Thure E.; Barnette, Janet E.; Chesson, Lesley A.; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Gobush, Kathleen S.; Uno, Kevin T.; Wasser, Samuel K.; Xu, Xiaomei

    2016-11-01

    Carbon-14 measurements on 231 elephant ivory specimens from 14 large ivory seizures (≥0.5 ton) made between 2002 and 2014 show that most ivory (ca. 90%) was derived from animals that had died less than 3 y before ivory was confiscated. This indicates that the assumption of recent elephant death for mortality estimates of African elephants is correct: Very little “old” ivory is included in large ivory shipments from Africa. We found only one specimen of the 231 analyzed to have a lag time longer than 6 y. Patterns of trade differ by regions: East African ivory, based on genetic assignments of geographic origin, has a much higher fraction of “rapid” transit than ivory originating in the Tridom region of Cameroon-Gabon-Congo. Carbon-14 is an important tool in understanding patterns of movement of illegal wildlife products.

  6. Radiocarbon dating of seized ivory confirms rapid decline in African elephant populations and provides insight into illegal trade

    PubMed Central

    Cerling, Thure E.; Barnette, Janet E.; Chesson, Lesley A.; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Gobush, Kathleen S.; Wasser, Samuel K.; Xu, Xiaomei

    2016-01-01

    Carbon-14 measurements on 231 elephant ivory specimens from 14 large ivory seizures (≥0.5 ton) made between 2002 and 2014 show that most ivory (ca. 90%) was derived from animals that had died less than 3 y before ivory was confiscated. This indicates that the assumption of recent elephant death for mortality estimates of African elephants is correct: Very little “old” ivory is included in large ivory shipments from Africa. We found only one specimen of the 231 analyzed to have a lag time longer than 6 y. Patterns of trade differ by regions: East African ivory, based on genetic assignments of geographic origin, has a much higher fraction of “rapid” transit than ivory originating in the Tridom region of Cameroon–Gabon–Congo. Carbon-14 is an important tool in understanding patterns of movement of illegal wildlife products. PMID:27821744

  7. Will Elephants Soon Disappear from West African Savannahs?

    PubMed Central

    Bouché, Philippe; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Wittemyer, George; Nianogo, Aimé J.; Doucet, Jean-Louis; Lejeune, Philippe; Vermeulen, Cédric

    2011-01-01

    Precipitous declines in Africa's native fauna and flora are recognized, but few comprehensive records of these changes have been compiled. Here, we present population trends for African elephants in the 6,213,000 km2 Sudano-Sahelian range of West and Central Africa assessed through the analysis of aerial and ground surveys conducted over the past 4 decades. These surveys are focused on the best protected areas in the region, and therefore represent the best case scenario for the northern savanna elephants. A minimum of 7,745 elephants currently inhabit the entire region, representing a minimum decline of 50% from estimates four decades ago for these protected areas. Most of the historic range is now devoid of elephants and, therefore, was not surveyed. Of the 23 surveyed elephant populations, half are estimated to number less than 200 individuals. Historically, most populations numbering less than 200 individuals in the region were extirpated within a few decades. Declines differed by region, with Central African populations experiencing much higher declines (−76%) than those in West Africa (−33%). As a result, elephants in West Africa now account for 86% of the total surveyed. Range wide, two refuge zones retain elephants, one in West and the other in Central Africa. These zones are separated by a large distance (∼900 km) of high density human land use, suggesting connectivity between the regions is permanently cut. Within each zone, however, sporadic contacts between populations remain. Retaining such connectivity should be a high priority for conservation of elephants in this region. Specific corridors designed to reduce the isolation of the surveyed populations are proposed. The strong commitment of governments, effective law enforcement to control the illegal ivory trade and the involvement of local communities and private partners are all critical to securing the future of elephants inhabiting Africa's northern savannas. PMID:21731620

  8. Will elephants soon disappear from West African savannahs?

    PubMed

    Bouché, Philippe; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Wittemyer, George; Nianogo, Aimé J; Doucet, Jean-Louis; Lejeune, Philippe; Vermeulen, Cédric

    2011-01-01

    Precipitous declines in Africa's native fauna and flora are recognized, but few comprehensive records of these changes have been compiled. Here, we present population trends for African elephants in the 6,213,000 km² Sudano-Sahelian range of West and Central Africa assessed through the analysis of aerial and ground surveys conducted over the past 4 decades. These surveys are focused on the best protected areas in the region, and therefore represent the best case scenario for the northern savanna elephants. A minimum of 7,745 elephants currently inhabit the entire region, representing a minimum decline of 50% from estimates four decades ago for these protected areas. Most of the historic range is now devoid of elephants and, therefore, was not surveyed. Of the 23 surveyed elephant populations, half are estimated to number less than 200 individuals. Historically, most populations numbering less than 200 individuals in the region were extirpated within a few decades. Declines differed by region, with Central African populations experiencing much higher declines (-76%) than those in West Africa (-33%). As a result, elephants in West Africa now account for 86% of the total surveyed. Range wide, two refuge zones retain elephants, one in West and the other in Central Africa. These zones are separated by a large distance (∼900 km) of high density human land use, suggesting connectivity between the regions is permanently cut. Within each zone, however, sporadic contacts between populations remain. Retaining such connectivity should be a high priority for conservation of elephants in this region. Specific corridors designed to reduce the isolation of the surveyed populations are proposed. The strong commitment of governments, effective law enforcement to control the illegal ivory trade and the involvement of local communities and private partners are all critical to securing the future of elephants inhabiting Africa's northern savannas.

  9. Continent-wide survey reveals massive decline in African savannah elephants.

    PubMed

    Chase, Michael J; Schlossberg, Scott; Griffin, Curtice R; Bouché, Philippe J C; Djene, Sintayehu W; Elkan, Paul W; Ferreira, Sam; Grossman, Falk; Kohi, Edward Mtarima; Landen, Kelly; Omondi, Patrick; Peltier, Alexis; Selier, S A Jeanetta; Sutcliffe, Robert

    2016-01-01

    African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are imperiled by poaching and habitat loss. Despite global attention to the plight of elephants, their population sizes and trends are uncertain or unknown over much of Africa. To conserve this iconic species, conservationists need timely, accurate data on elephant populations. Here, we report the results of the Great Elephant Census (GEC), the first continent-wide, standardized survey of African savannah elephants. We also provide the first quantitative model of elephant population trends across Africa. We estimated a population of 352,271 savannah elephants on study sites in 18 countries, representing approximately 93% of all savannah elephants in those countries. Elephant populations in survey areas with historical data decreased by an estimated 144,000 from 2007 to 2014, and populations are currently shrinking by 8% per year continent-wide, primarily due to poaching. Though 84% of elephants occurred in protected areas, many protected areas had carcass ratios that indicated high levels of elephant mortality. Results of the GEC show the necessity of action to end the African elephants' downward trajectory by preventing poaching and protecting habitat.

  10. Resource variability, aggregation and direct density dependence in an open context: the local regulation of an African elephant population.

    PubMed

    Chamaillé-Jammes, Simon; Fritz, Hervé; Valeix, Marion; Murindagomo, Felix; Clobert, Jean

    2008-01-01

    1. An emerging perspective in the study of density dependence is the importance of the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of resources. Although this is well understood in temperate ungulates, few studies have been conducted in tropical environments where both food and water are limiting resources. 2. We studied the regulation of one of the world's largest elephant populations in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. The study period started in 1986 when the population was released from culling. Using census data we investigated changes in elephant abundance with respect to rainfall and density across the entire park and across waterholes. 3. The population more than doubled since culling stopped. The population increased continuously during the first 6 years, and then fluctuated widely at about 30,000 individuals. Immigration processes must have been involved in the increase of the population size. 4. Population growth rates were negatively related to previous population density by a convex relationship, and negatively related to the ratio of previous population density on annual rainfall by a linear relationship. However, only this latter model (i.e. assuming a fluctuating carrying capacity related to annual rainfall) produced realistic dynamics. Overall, population decreased during dry years when the elephant density was high. 5. During dry years there were fewer waterholes retaining water during the dry season and consequently elephant numbers at waterholes increased, while their aggregation level across waterholes decreased. On the long-run elephant numbers increased only at the less crowded waterholes. 6. We suggest that the interaction between population size and the available foraging range determined by the number of active waterholes during the dry season controls the park population. 7. Our results emphasize the need to understand how key-resource areas cause resource-based aggregation, which ultimately influences the strength of density dependence. More

  11. Using genetic profiles of African forest elephants to infer population structure, movements, and habitat use in a conservation and development landscape in Gabon.

    PubMed

    Eggert, L S; Buij, R; Lee, M E; Campbell, P; Dallmeier, F; Fleischer, R C; Alonso, A; Maldonado, J E

    2014-02-01

    Conservation of wide-ranging species, such as the African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis), depends on fully protected areas and multiple-use areas (MUA) that provide habitat connectivity. In the Gamba Complex of Protected Areas in Gabon, which includes 2 national parks separated by a MUA containing energy and forestry concessions, we studied forest elephants to evaluate the importance of the MUA to wide-ranging species. We extracted DNA from elephant dung samples and used genetic information to identify over 500 individuals in the MUA and the parks. We then examined patterns of nuclear microsatellites and mitochondrial control-region sequences to infer population structure, movement patterns, and habitat use by age and sex. Population structure was weak but significant, and differentiation was more pronounced during the wet season. Within the MUA, males were more strongly associated with open habitats, such as wetlands and savannas, than females during the dry season. Many of the movements detected within and between seasons involved the wetlands and bordering lagoons. Our results suggest that the MUA provides year-round habitat for some elephants and additional habitat for others whose primary range is in the parks. With the continuing loss of roadless wilderness areas in Central Africa, well-managed MUAs will likely be important to the conservation of wide-ranging species.

  12. Continent-wide survey reveals massive decline in African savannah elephants

    PubMed Central

    Schlossberg, Scott; Griffin, Curtice R.; Bouché, Philippe J.C.; Djene, Sintayehu W.; Elkan, Paul W.; Ferreira, Sam; Grossman, Falk; Kohi, Edward Mtarima; Landen, Kelly; Omondi, Patrick; Peltier, Alexis; Selier, S.A. Jeanetta; Sutcliffe, Robert

    2016-01-01

    African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are imperiled by poaching and habitat loss. Despite global attention to the plight of elephants, their population sizes and trends are uncertain or unknown over much of Africa. To conserve this iconic species, conservationists need timely, accurate data on elephant populations. Here, we report the results of the Great Elephant Census (GEC), the first continent-wide, standardized survey of African savannah elephants. We also provide the first quantitative model of elephant population trends across Africa. We estimated a population of 352,271 savannah elephants on study sites in 18 countries, representing approximately 93% of all savannah elephants in those countries. Elephant populations in survey areas with historical data decreased by an estimated 144,000 from 2007 to 2014, and populations are currently shrinking by 8% per year continent-wide, primarily due to poaching. Though 84% of elephants occurred in protected areas, many protected areas had carcass ratios that indicated high levels of elephant mortality. Results of the GEC show the necessity of action to end the African elephants’ downward trajectory by preventing poaching and protecting habitat. PMID:27635327

  13. Effective population size dynamics reveal impacts of historic climatic events and recent anthropogenic pressure in African elephants.

    PubMed

    Okello, J B A; Wittemyer, G; Rasmussen, H B; Arctander, P; Nyakaana, S; Douglas-Hamilton, I; Siegismund, H R

    2008-09-01

    Two hundred years of elephant hunting for ivory, peaking in 1970-1980s, caused local extirpations and massive population declines across Africa. The resulting genetic impacts on surviving populations have not been studied, despite the importance of understanding the evolutionary repercussions of such human-mediated events on this keystone species. Using Bayesian coalescent-based genetic methods to evaluate time-specific changes in effective population size, we analysed genetic variation in 20 highly polymorphic microsatellite loci from 400 elephants inhabiting the greater Samburu-Laikipia region of northern Kenya. This area experienced a decline of between 80% and 90% in the last few decades when ivory harvesting was rampant. The most significant change in effective population size, however, occurred approximately 2500 years ago during a mid-Holocene period of climatic drying in tropical Africa. Contrary to expectations, detailed analyses of four contemporary age-based cohorts showed that the peak poaching epidemic in the 1970s caused detectable temporary genetic impacts, with genetic diversity rebounding as juveniles surviving the poaching era became reproductively mature. This study demonstrates the importance of climatic history in shaping the distribution and genetic history of a keystone species and highlights the utility of coalescent-based demographic approaches in unravelling ancestral demographic events despite a lack of ancient samples. Unique insights into the genetic signature of mid-Holocene climatic change in Africa and effects of recent poaching pressure on elephants are discussed.

  14. Reconciling apparent conflicts between mitochondrial and nuclear phylogenies in African elephants.

    PubMed

    Ishida, Yasuko; Oleksyk, Taras K; Georgiadis, Nicholas J; David, Victor A; Zhao, Kai; Stephens, Robert M; Kolokotronis, Sergios-Orestis; Roca, Alfred L

    2011-01-01

    Conservation strategies for African elephants would be advanced by resolution of conflicting claims that they comprise one, two, three or four taxonomic groups, and by development of genetic markers that establish more incisively the provenance of confiscated ivory. We addressed these related issues by genotyping 555 elephants from across Africa with microsatellite markers, developing a method to identify those loci most effective at geographic assignment of elephants (or their ivory), and conducting novel analyses of continent-wide datasets of mitochondrial DNA. Results showed that nuclear genetic diversity was partitioned into two clusters, corresponding to African forest elephants (99.5% Cluster-1) and African savanna elephants (99.4% Cluster-2). Hybrid individuals were rare. In a comparison of basal forest "F" and savanna "S" mtDNA clade distributions to nuclear DNA partitions, forest elephant nuclear genotypes occurred only in populations in which S clade mtDNA was absent, suggesting that nuclear partitioning corresponds to the presence or absence of S clade mtDNA. We reanalyzed African elephant mtDNA sequences from 81 locales spanning the continent and discovered that S clade mtDNA was completely absent among elephants at all 30 sampled tropical forest locales. The distribution of savanna nuclear DNA and S clade mtDNA corresponded closely to range boundaries traditionally ascribed to the savanna elephant species based on habitat and morphology. Further, a reanalysis of nuclear genetic assignment results suggested that West African elephants do not comprise a distinct third species. Finally, we show that some DNA markers will be more useful than others for determining the geographic origins of illegal ivory. These findings resolve the apparent incongruence between mtDNA and nuclear genetic patterns that has confounded the taxonomy of African elephants, affirm the limitations of using mtDNA patterns to infer elephant systematics or population structure, and

  15. Reconciling Apparent Conflicts between Mitochondrial and Nuclear Phylogenies in African Elephants

    PubMed Central

    Georgiadis, Nicholas J.; David, Victor A.; Zhao, Kai; Stephens, Robert M.; Kolokotronis, Sergios-Orestis; Roca, Alfred L.

    2011-01-01

    Conservation strategies for African elephants would be advanced by resolution of conflicting claims that they comprise one, two, three or four taxonomic groups, and by development of genetic markers that establish more incisively the provenance of confiscated ivory. We addressed these related issues by genotyping 555 elephants from across Africa with microsatellite markers, developing a method to identify those loci most effective at geographic assignment of elephants (or their ivory), and conducting novel analyses of continent-wide datasets of mitochondrial DNA. Results showed that nuclear genetic diversity was partitioned into two clusters, corresponding to African forest elephants (99.5% Cluster-1) and African savanna elephants (99.4% Cluster-2). Hybrid individuals were rare. In a comparison of basal forest “F” and savanna “S” mtDNA clade distributions to nuclear DNA partitions, forest elephant nuclear genotypes occurred only in populations in which S clade mtDNA was absent, suggesting that nuclear partitioning corresponds to the presence or absence of S clade mtDNA. We reanalyzed African elephant mtDNA sequences from 81 locales spanning the continent and discovered that S clade mtDNA was completely absent among elephants at all 30 sampled tropical forest locales. The distribution of savanna nuclear DNA and S clade mtDNA corresponded closely to range boundaries traditionally ascribed to the savanna elephant species based on habitat and morphology. Further, a reanalysis of nuclear genetic assignment results suggested that West African elephants do not comprise a distinct third species. Finally, we show that some DNA markers will be more useful than others for determining the geographic origins of illegal ivory. These findings resolve the apparent incongruence between mtDNA and nuclear genetic patterns that has confounded the taxonomy of African elephants, affirm the limitations of using mtDNA patterns to infer elephant systematics or population structure

  16. Geographic variation of stable isotopes in African elephant ivory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ziegler, S.; Merker, S.; Jacob, D.

    2012-04-01

    In 1989, the international community listed the African elephant in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) thus prohibiting commercial ivory trade. Recent surveillance data show that the illegal trade in ivory has been growing worldwide. Long-term preservation of many of the African elephant populations can be supported with a control mechanism that helps with the implementation of remedial conservation action. Therefore, setting up a reference database that predicts the origin of ivory specimens can assist in determining smuggling routes and the provenance of illegal ivory. Our research builds on earlier work to seek an appropriate method for determining the area of origin for individual tusks. Several researchers have shown that the provenance of elephant ivory can be traced by its isotopic composition, but this is the first attempt to produce an integrated isotopic reference database of elephant ivory provenance. We applied a combination of various routine geochemical analyses to measure the stable isotope ratios of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulphur. Up to now, we analysed 606 ivory samples of known geographical origin from African range states, museums and private collections, comprising 22 African elephant range states. The isotopic measurements were superimposed with data layers from vegetation, geology and climate. A regression function for the isotope composition of the water isotopes in precipitation and collagen in ivory was developed to overcome the problem of imprecise origin of some of the sampled material. Multivariate statistics, such as nearest neighborhood and discriminate analysis were applied to eventually allow a statistical determination of the provenance for ivory of unknown origin. Our results suggest that the combination of isotopic parameters have the potential to provide predictable and complementary markers for estimating the origin of seized elephant ivory.

  17. Illegal killing for ivory drives global decline in African elephants.

    PubMed

    Wittemyer, George; Northrup, Joseph M; Blanc, Julian; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Omondi, Patrick; Burnham, Kenneth P

    2014-09-09

    Illegal wildlife trade has reached alarming levels globally, extirpating populations of commercially valuable species. As a driver of biodiversity loss, quantifying illegal harvest is essential for conservation and sociopolitical affairs but notoriously difficult. Here we combine field-based carcass monitoring with fine-scale demographic data from an intensively studied wild African elephant population in Samburu, Kenya, to partition mortality into natural and illegal causes. We then expand our analytical framework to model illegal killing rates and population trends of elephants at regional and continental scales using carcass data collected by a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species program. At the intensively monitored site, illegal killing increased markedly after 2008 and was correlated strongly with the local black market ivory price and increased seizures of ivory destined for China. More broadly, results from application to continental data indicated illegal killing levels were unsustainable for the species between 2010 and 2012, peaking to ∼ 8% in 2011 which extrapolates to ∼ 40,000 elephants illegally killed and a probable species reduction of ∼ 3% that year. Preliminary data from 2013 indicate overharvesting continued. In contrast to the rest of Africa, our analysis corroborates that Central African forest elephants experienced decline throughout the last decade. These results provide the most comprehensive assessment of illegal ivory harvest to date and confirm that current ivory consumption is not sustainable. Further, our approach provides a powerful basis to determine cryptic mortality and gain understanding of the demography of at-risk species.

  18. Cyto-nuclear genomic dissociation and the African elephant species question.

    PubMed

    Roca, Alfred L; Georgiadis, Nicholas; O'Brien, Stephen J

    2007-07-01

    Studies of skull morphology and of nuclear DNA have strongly concluded that African elephants comprise two species. Nonetheless, Debruyne (2005) has suggested a single-species model for Loxodonta based on the polyphyly of a single genetic locus, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Discordant patterns between mitochondrial and nuclear DNA markers were subsequently reported in some African savanna elephant populations, further supporting a two-species model, and prompting us to re-examine here the geographic distribution of different elephant morphotypes and their relationship to nuclear and mtDNA phylogeographic patterns. We used exact tests to compare the distribution of forest elephant-typical and savanna elephant-typical characteristics across eight published datasets containing morphological, mtDNA or nuclear DNA data for African elephants. Among the elephants examined by Debruyne (2005), we found that patterns of forest vs. savanna characteristics were significantly different (p < 10(-5)) between mtDNA and morphology, suggesting the presence of cyto-nuclear genomic dissociation. We show that the eight African elephant continent-wide datasets compared, including that of Debruyne (2005), together support a two-species model with cyto-nuclear genomic dissociation rather than a one-species model, and together indicate that Africa harbors two species of elephant.

  19. First reported case of fatal tuberculosis in a wild African elephant with past human-wildlife contact.

    PubMed

    Obanda, V; Poghon, J; Yongo, M; Mulei, I; Ngotho, M; Waititu, K; Makumi, J; Gakuya, F; Omondi, P; Soriguer, R C; Alasaad, S

    2013-07-01

    Tuberculosis is emerging/re-emerging in captive elephant populations, where it causes morbidity and deaths, although no case of TB in wild African elephants has been reported. In this paper we report the first case of fatal TB in an African elephant in the wild. The infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis was confirmed by post-mortem and histological examinations of a female sub-adult elephant aged >12 years that died in Tsavo East National Park, Kenya, while under treatment. This case is unique in that during its lifetime the elephant had contact with both humans and wild elephants. The source of the infection was unclear because the elephant could have acquired the infection in the orphanage or in the wild. However, our results show that wild elephants can maintain human TB in the wild and that the infection can be fatal.

  20. The influence of socioeconomic factors on the densities of high-value cross-border species, the African elephant.

    PubMed

    Selier, Sarah-Anne Jeanetta; Slotow, Rob; Di Minin, Enrico

    2016-01-01

    Unprecedented poaching levels triggered by demand for ivory in Far East Asia are threatening the persistence of African elephant Loxodonta africana. Southern African countries make an important contribution to elephant conservation and could soon become the last stronghold of elephant conservation in Africa. While the ecological factors affecting elephant distribution and densities have extensively been accounted for, there is a need to understand which socioeconomic factors affect elephant numbers in order to prevent conflict over limited space and resources with humans. We used elephant count data from aerial surveys for seven years in a generalized linear model, which accounted for temporal correlation, to investigate the effect of six socioeconomic and ecological variables on the number of elephant at the country level in the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area (GMTFCA). Important factors in predicting elephant numbers were the proportion of total land surface under cultivation, human population density and the number of tourists visiting the country. Specifically, elephant numbers were higher where the proportion of total land surface under cultivation was the lowest; where population density was the lowest and where tourist numbers had increased over the years. Our results confirm that human disturbance is affecting elephant numbers, but highlight that the benefits provided by ecotourism could help enhance elephant conservation. While future studies should include larger areas and more detailed data at the site level, we stress that the development of coordinated legislation and policies to improve land-use planning are needed to reduce the impact of increasing human populations and agriculture on elephant.

  1. Neuronal morphology in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) neocortex.

    PubMed

    Jacobs, Bob; Lubs, Jessica; Hannan, Markus; Anderson, Kaeley; Butti, Camilla; Sherwood, Chet C; Hof, Patrick R; Manger, Paul R

    2011-01-01

    Virtually nothing is known about the morphology of cortical neurons in the elephant. To this end, the current study provides the first documentation of neuronal morphology in frontal and occipital regions of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana). Cortical tissue from the perfusion-fixed brains of two free-ranging African elephants was stained with a modified Golgi technique. Neurons of different types (N=75), with a focus on superficial (i.e., layers II-III) pyramidal neurons, were quantified on a computer-assisted microscopy system using Neurolucida software. Qualitatively, elephant neocortex exhibited large, complex spiny neurons, many of which differed in morphology/orientation from typical primate and rodent pyramidal neurons. Elephant cortex exhibited a V-shaped arrangement of bifurcating apical dendritic bundles. Quantitatively, the dendrites of superficial pyramidal neurons in elephant frontal cortex were more complex than in occipital cortex. In comparison to human supragranular pyramidal neurons, elephant superficial pyramidal neurons exhibited similar overall basilar dendritic length, but the dendritic segments tended to be longer in the elephant with less intricate branching. Finally, elephant aspiny interneurons appeared to be morphologically consistent with other eutherian mammals. The current results thus elaborate on the evolutionary roots of Afrotherian brain organization and highlight unique aspects of neural architecture in elephants.

  2. Triangulating the provenance of African elephants using mitochondrial DNA

    PubMed Central

    Ishida, Yasuko; Georgiadis, Nicholas J; Hondo, Tomoko; Roca, Alfred L

    2013-01-01

    African elephant mitochondrial (mt) DNA follows a distinctive evolutionary trajectory. As females do not migrate between elephant herds, mtDNA exhibits low geographic dispersal. We therefore examined the effectiveness of mtDNA for assigning the provenance of African elephants (or their ivory). For 653 savanna and forest elephants from 22 localities in 13 countries, 4258 bp of mtDNA was sequenced. We detected eight mtDNA subclades, of which seven had regionally restricted distributions. Among 108 unique haplotypes identified, 72% were found at only one locality and 84% were country specific, while 44% of individuals carried a haplotype detected only at their sampling locality. We combined 316 bp of our control region sequences with those generated by previous trans-national surveys of African elephants. Among 101 unique control region haplotypes detected in African elephants across 81 locations in 22 countries, 62% were present in only a single country. Applying our mtDNA results to a previous microsatellite-based assignment study would improve estimates of the provenance of elephants in 115 of 122 mis-assigned cases. Nuclear partitioning followed species boundaries and not mtDNA subclade boundaries. For taxa such as elephants in which nuclear and mtDNA markers differ in phylogeography, combining the two markers can triangulate the origins of confiscated wildlife products. PMID:23798975

  3. Eradication of elephant ear mites (Loxoanoetus bassoni) in two African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Wyatt, Jeff; DiVincenti, Louis

    2012-03-01

    Elephant ear mites, not previously described in North America, were eradicated in two African elephants (Loxodonta africana) after six otic instillations of ivermectin at 2-wk intervals. The microscopic examination of a clear, mucoid discharge collected from the external ear canals of two wild-born African elephants housed in a New York State zoo for 25 yr revealed live mites (Loxoaneotus bassoni). The cytologic examination demonstrated no evidence of inflammation or infection. Both elephants were asymptomatic with normal hemograms and serum chemistry panels. A diagnosis of otoacariasis was made. Each elephant was treated six times with 5 ml of 1% ivermectin syrup instilled in each ear canal once every 2 wk. Microscopic examinations of clear mucus collected from each elephant's ear canals 9 days after the first instillation of ivermectin were negative for any life stages of ear mites. Microscopic examinations of mucus collected from both elephants' ear canals at 6, 11, and 16 wk, as well as annually post-treatment for 7 yr, confirmed eradication of the ear mites. The L. bassoni ear mite was first identified in the external ear canals of wild, asymptomatic, lesion-free, African elephants culled in Kruger National Park in South Africa. However, a new species in the same genus of mites (Loxoanoetus lenae) was identified at the necropsy of an 86-yr-old Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) living in a circus in Australia. The autopsy revealed a marked, ballooning distension of bone around the left external acoustic meatus, suggestive of mite-induced otitis externa, as seen in cattle infested with ear mites (Raillieta auris). Elephant health care providers should identify the prevalence of, and consider treatment of, elephants in their care infested with ear mites, given the possible risk for adverse health effects.

  4. Bee threat elicits alarm call in African elephants.

    PubMed

    King, Lucy E; Soltis, Joseph; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Savage, Anne; Vollrath, Fritz

    2010-04-26

    Unlike the smaller and more vulnerable mammals, African elephants have relatively few predators that threaten their survival. The sound of disturbed African honeybees Apis meliffera scutellata causes African elephants Loxodonta africana to retreat and produce warning vocalizations that lead other elephants to join the flight. In our first experiment, audio playbacks of bee sounds induced elephants to retreat and elicited more head-shaking and dusting, reactive behaviors that may prevent bee stings, compared to white noise control playbacks. Most importantly, elephants produced distinctive "rumble" vocalizations in response to bee sounds. These rumbles exhibited an upward shift in the second formant location, which implies active vocal tract modulation, compared to rumbles made in response to white noise playbacks. In a second experiment, audio playbacks of these rumbles produced in response to bees elicited increased headshaking, and further and faster retreat behavior in other elephants, compared to control rumble playbacks with lower second formant frequencies. These responses to the bee rumble stimuli occurred in the absence of any bees or bee sounds. This suggests that these elephant rumbles may function as referential signals, in which a formant frequency shift alerts nearby elephants about an external threat, in this case, the threat of bees.

  5. Detection of cytonuclear genomic dissociation in the North American captive African elephant collection.

    PubMed

    Lei, Runhua; Brenneman, Rick A; Schmitt, Dennis L; Louis, Edward E

    2009-01-01

    A total of 114 captive elephants (6 Asian; 108 African) from 43 private institutions or North American zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums were sampled and evaluated to investigate genetic status. Because previous analyses of the captive collection indicated potential cytonuclear dissociation between mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence and microsatellite nuclear DNA genotype data, we investigated this phenomenon within the captive collection with 2 X-linked genes (BGN and PHKA2) and 1 Y-linked gene (AMELY). These data reveal that individuals with forest-derived elephant mtDNA lineages carried only savannah elephant nuclear gene haplotypes. These results are concordant with a previous study of wild populations sampled across Africa, indicating that cytonuclear genomic dissociation was captured in the founders of the North American African elephant collection. These results are important for resolving questions that can potentially impact future management and breeding programs related to the collection.

  6. Systematic review on the conservation genetics of African savannah elephants

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Background In this paper we review the conservation genetics of African savannah elephants, aiming to understand the spatio-temporal research trends and their underlying factors. As such, we explore three questions associated to the conservation genetics and molecular ecology of these elephants: (1) what are the research trends concerning the conservation genetics of Loxodonta africana? (2) Do richer countries conduct more research on the genetics of African elephants? (3) Which attributes influence where scholars conduct their research? Materials and Methods We examined available peer-reviewed publications from 1993 to 2014 in complementary online databases, including the ISI/Web of Science (WoS), Scopus and Google Scholar (GS), and searched for publications in scientific journals as well as in the reference section of these publications. We analyzed the annual trend of publications in this field of research, including the number of authors, levels of collaboration among authors, year of publication, publishing journal and the countries from where genetic samples were collected. Additionally, we identified main research clusters, authors, and institutional collaborations, based on co-citation and co-occurrence networks. Results We found that during the study period there was a positive trend in the number of publications and a reduction in the number of authors per paper. Twenty-five countries contributed, with the majority of publications authored by researchers in the USA, Kenya and South Africa. The majority of samples were collected in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. Research outputs are associated with the existence of long-term conservation/research projects and research potential as measured by the literacy rate and the number of higher education institutions in a country. Five research clusters were identified, focusing on the origin and evolution of the species, methodological issues and the relatedness among elephant species. Conclusions Research in

  7. Effects of economic downturns on mortality of wild African elephants.

    PubMed

    Wittemyer, George

    2011-10-01

    Declines in economic activity and associated changes in human livelihood strategies can increase threats of species overexploitation. This is exemplified by the effects of economic crises, which often drive intensification of subsistence poaching and greater reliance on natural resources. Whereas development theory links natural resource use to social-economic conditions, few empirical studies of the effect of economic downturns on wild animal species have been conducted. I assessed the relations between African elephant (Loxodonta africana) mortality and human-caused wounds in Samburu, Kenya and (1) livestock and maize prices (measures of local economic conditions), (2) change in national and regional gross domestic product (GDP) (measures of macroeconomic conditions), and (3) the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) (a correlate of primary productivity). In addition, I analyzed household survey data to determine the attitudes of local people toward protected areas and wild animals in the area. When cattle prices in the pastoralist study region were low, human-caused wounds to and adult mortality of elephants increased. The NDVI was negatively correlated with juvenile mortality, but not correlated with adult mortality. Changes in Kenyan and East Asian (primary market for ivory) GDP did not explain significant variation in mortality. Increased human wounding of elephants and elephant mortality during periods of low livestock prices (local economic downturns) likely reflect an economically driven increase in ivory poaching. Local but not macroeconomic indices explained significant variation in mortality, likely due to the dominance of the subsistence economy in the study area and its political and economic isolation. My results suggest economic metrics can serve as effective indicators of changes in human use of and resulting effects on natural resources. Such information can help focus management approaches (e.g., antipoaching effort or proffering of

  8. Laparoscopic vasectomy in African savannah elephant (Loxodonta africana); surgical technique and results.

    PubMed

    Marais, Hendrik J; Hendrickson, Dean A; Stetter, Mark; Zuba, Jeffery R; Penning, Mark; Siegal-Willott, Jess; Hardy, Christine

    2013-12-01

    Several small, enclosed reserves in southern Africa are experiencing significant elephant population growth, which has resulted in associated environmental damage and changes in biodiversity. Although several techniques exist to control elephant populations, e.g., culling, relocation, and immunocontraception, the technique of laparoscopic vasectomy of free-ranging bull elephants was investigated. Bilateral vasectomies were performed in 45 elephants. Of these elephants, one died within 24 hr of recovery and two had complications during surgery but recovered uneventfully. Histologic examination confirmed the resected tissue as ductus deferens in all the bulls. Most animals recovered uneventfully and showed no abnormal behavior after surgery. Complications recorded included incisional dehiscence, 1 full-thickness and 2 partial-thickness lacerations of the large intestine, and initial sling-associated complications, for example, deep radial nerve paresis. One bull was found dead 6 weeks after surgery without showing any prior abnormal signs. Vasectomy in free-ranging African bull elephants may be effectively performed in their normal environment. The surgical procedure can be used as a realistic population management tool in free-ranging elephants without major anesthetic, surgical, or postoperative complications.

  9. The influence of socioeconomic factors on the densities of high-value cross-border species, the African elephant

    PubMed Central

    Slotow, Rob; Di Minin, Enrico

    2016-01-01

    Unprecedented poaching levels triggered by demand for ivory in Far East Asia are threatening the persistence of African elephant Loxodonta africana. Southern African countries make an important contribution to elephant conservation and could soon become the last stronghold of elephant conservation in Africa. While the ecological factors affecting elephant distribution and densities have extensively been accounted for, there is a need to understand which socioeconomic factors affect elephant numbers in order to prevent conflict over limited space and resources with humans. We used elephant count data from aerial surveys for seven years in a generalized linear model, which accounted for temporal correlation, to investigate the effect of six socioeconomic and ecological variables on the number of elephant at the country level in the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area (GMTFCA). Important factors in predicting elephant numbers were the proportion of total land surface under cultivation, human population density and the number of tourists visiting the country. Specifically, elephant numbers were higher where the proportion of total land surface under cultivation was the lowest; where population density was the lowest and where tourist numbers had increased over the years. Our results confirm that human disturbance is affecting elephant numbers, but highlight that the benefits provided by ecotourism could help enhance elephant conservation. While future studies should include larger areas and more detailed data at the site level, we stress that the development of coordinated legislation and policies to improve land-use planning are needed to reduce the impact of increasing human populations and agriculture on elephant. PMID:27812404

  10. Mapping the Elephants of the 19th Century East African Ivory Trade with a Multi-Isotope Approach

    PubMed Central

    Lee-Thorp, Julia; Collins, Matthew J.; Lane, Paul J.

    2016-01-01

    East African elephants have been hunted for their ivory for millennia but the nineteenth century witnessed strongly escalating demand from Europe and North America. It has been suggested that one consequence was that by the 1880s elephant herds along the coast had become scarce, and to meet demand, trade caravans trekked farther into interior regions of East Africa, extending the extraction frontier. The steady decimation of elephant populations coupled with the extension of trade networks have also been claimed to have triggered significant ecological and socio-economic changes that left lasting legacies across the region. To explore the feasibility of using an isotopic approach to uncover a ‘moving frontier’ of elephant extraction, we constructed a baseline isotope data set (δ13C, δ15N, δ18O and 87Sr/86Sr) for historic East African elephants known to have come from three distinct regions (coastal, Rift Valley, and inland Lakes). Using the isotope results with other climate data and geographical mapping tools, it was possible to characterise elephants from different habitats across the region. This baseline data set was then used to provenance elephant ivory of unknown geographical provenance that was exported from East Africa during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to determine its likely origin. This produced a better understanding of historic elephant geography in the region, and the data have the potential to be used to provenance older archaeological ivories, and to inform contemporary elephant conservation strategies. PMID:27760152

  11. The evolution and phylogeography of the African elephant inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequence and nuclear microsatellite markers.

    PubMed

    Eggert, Lori S; Rasner, Caylor A; Woodruff, David S

    2002-10-07

    Recent genetic results support the recognition of two African elephant species: Loxodonta africana, the savannah elephant, and Loxodonta cyclotis, the forest elephant. The study, however, did not include the populations of West Africa, where the taxonomic affinities of elephants have been much debated. We examined mitochondrial cytochrome b control region sequences and four microsatellite loci to investigate the genetic differences between the forest and savannah elephants of West and Central Africa. We then combined our data with published control region sequences from across Africa to examine patterns at the continental level. Our analysis reveals several deeply divergent lineages that do not correspond with the currently recognized taxonomy: (i) the forest elephants of Central Africa; the forest and savannah elephants of West Africa; and (iii) the savannah elephants of eastern, southern and Central Africa. We propose that the complex phylogeographic patterns we detect in African elephants result from repeated continental-scale climatic changes over their five-to-six million year evolutionary history. Until there is consensus on the taxonomy, we suggest that the genetic and ecological distinctness of these lineages should be an important factor in conservation management planning.

  12. Mapping the Elephants of the 19th Century East African Ivory Trade with a Multi-Isotope Approach.

    PubMed

    Coutu, Ashley N; Lee-Thorp, Julia; Collins, Matthew J; Lane, Paul J

    2016-01-01

    East African elephants have been hunted for their ivory for millennia but the nineteenth century witnessed strongly escalating demand from Europe and North America. It has been suggested that one consequence was that by the 1880s elephant herds along the coast had become scarce, and to meet demand, trade caravans trekked farther into interior regions of East Africa, extending the extraction frontier. The steady decimation of elephant populations coupled with the extension of trade networks have also been claimed to have triggered significant ecological and socio-economic changes that left lasting legacies across the region. To explore the feasibility of using an isotopic approach to uncover a 'moving frontier' of elephant extraction, we constructed a baseline isotope data set (δ13C, δ15N, δ18O and 87Sr/86Sr) for historic East African elephants known to have come from three distinct regions (coastal, Rift Valley, and inland Lakes). Using the isotope results with other climate data and geographical mapping tools, it was possible to characterise elephants from different habitats across the region. This baseline data set was then used to provenance elephant ivory of unknown geographical provenance that was exported from East Africa during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to determine its likely origin. This produced a better understanding of historic elephant geography in the region, and the data have the potential to be used to provenance older archaeological ivories, and to inform contemporary elephant conservation strategies.

  13. The evolution and phylogeography of the African elephant inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequence and nuclear microsatellite markers.

    PubMed Central

    Eggert, Lori S; Rasner, Caylor A; Woodruff, David S

    2002-01-01

    Recent genetic results support the recognition of two African elephant species: Loxodonta africana, the savannah elephant, and Loxodonta cyclotis, the forest elephant. The study, however, did not include the populations of West Africa, where the taxonomic affinities of elephants have been much debated. We examined mitochondrial cytochrome b control region sequences and four microsatellite loci to investigate the genetic differences between the forest and savannah elephants of West and Central Africa. We then combined our data with published control region sequences from across Africa to examine patterns at the continental level. Our analysis reveals several deeply divergent lineages that do not correspond with the currently recognized taxonomy: (i) the forest elephants of Central Africa; the forest and savannah elephants of West Africa; and (iii) the savannah elephants of eastern, southern and Central Africa. We propose that the complex phylogeographic patterns we detect in African elephants result from repeated continental-scale climatic changes over their five-to-six million year evolutionary history. Until there is consensus on the taxonomy, we suggest that the genetic and ecological distinctness of these lineages should be an important factor in conservation management planning. PMID:12396498

  14. Volumetric analysis of the African elephant ventricular system.

    PubMed

    Maskeo, Busisiwe C; Spocter, Muhammed A; Haagensen, Mark; Manger, Paul R

    2011-08-01

    This study used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to determine the volume of the ventricular system in the brain of three adult male African elephants (Loxodonta africana). The ventricular system of the elephant has a volume of ∼240 mL, an order of magnitude larger than that seen in the adult human. Despite this large size, allometric analysis indicates that the volume of the ventricles in the elephant is what one would expect for a mammal with an ∼5 kg brain. Interestingly, our comparison with other mammals revealed that primates appear to have small relative ventricular volumes, and that megachiropterans and microchiropterans follow different scaling rules when comparing ventricular volume to brain mass indicating separate phylogenetic histories. The current study provides context for one aspect of the elephant brain in the broader picture of mammalian brain evolution.

  15. Interpretation of human pointing by African elephants: generalisation and rationality.

    PubMed

    Smet, Anna F; Byrne, Richard W

    2014-11-01

    Factors influencing the abilities of different animals to use cooperative social cues from humans are still unclear, in spite of long-standing interest in the topic. One of the few species that have been found successful at using human pointing is the African elephant (Loxodonta africana); despite few opportunities for learning about pointing, elephants follow a pointing gesture in an object-choice task, even when the pointing signal and experimenter's body position are in conflict, and when the gesture itself is visually subtle. Here, we show that the success of captive African elephants at using human pointing is not restricted to situations where the pointing signal is sustained until the time of choice: elephants followed human pointing even when the pointing gesture was withdrawn before they had responded to it. Furthermore, elephants rapidly generalised their response to a type of social cue they were unlikely to have seen before: pointing with the foot. However, unlike young children, they showed no sign of evaluating the 'rationality' of this novel pointing gesture according to its visual context: that is, whether the experimenter's hands were occupied or not.

  16. Development of a Body Condition Scoring Index for Female African Elephants Validated by Ultrasound Measurements of Subcutaneous Fat

    PubMed Central

    Morfeld, Kari A.; Lehnhardt, John; Alligood, Christina; Bolling, Jeff; Brown, Janine L.

    2014-01-01

    Obesity-related health and reproductive problems may be contributing to non-sustainability of zoo African elephant (Loxodonta africana) populations. However, a major constraint in screening for obesity in elephants is lack of a practical method to accurately assess body fat. Body condition scoring (BCS) is the assessment of subcutaneous fat stores based on visual evaluation and provides an immediate appraisal of the degree of obesity of an individual. The objective of this study was to develop a visual BCS index for female African elephants and validate it using ultrasound measures of subcutaneous fat. To develop the index, standardized photographs were collected from zoo (n = 50) and free-ranging (n = 57) female African elephants for identifying key body regions and skeletal features, which were then used to visually determine body fat deposition patterns. This information was used to develop a visual BCS method consisting of a list of body regions and the physical criteria for assigning an overall score on a 5-point scale, with 1 representing the lowest and 5 representing the highest levels of body fat. Results showed that as BCS increased, ultrasound measures of subcutaneous fat thickness also increased (P<0.01), indicating the scores closely coincide with physical measures of fat reserves. The BCS index proved to be reliable and repeatable based on high intra- and inter-assessor agreement across three assessors. In comparing photographs of wild vs. captive African elephants, the median BCS in the free-ranging individuals (BCS = 3, range 1–5) was lower (P<0.001) than that of the zoo population (BCS = 4, range 2–5). In sum, we have developed the first validated BCS index for African elephants. This tool can be used to examine which factors impact body condition in zoo and free-ranging elephants, providing valuable information on how it affects health and reproductive potential of individual elephants. PMID:24718304

  17. Chronology of the extant African elephant species and case study of the species identification of the small African elephant with the molecular phylogenetic method.

    PubMed

    Murata, Yumie; Yonezawa, Takahiro; Kihara, Ichiro; Kashiwamura, Toshihide; Sugihara, Yuji; Nikaido, Masato; Okada, Norihiro; Endo, Hideki; Hasegawa, Masami

    2009-07-15

    Despite vigorous genetic studies of African elephants (Loxodonta africana and L. cyclotis) during the last decade, their evolutionary history is still obscure. Phylogenetic studies and coalescence time estimation using longer nucleotide sequence data from denser samplings are necessary to better understand the natural history of African elephants. Further, species identification among African elephants is sometimes very difficult using only the external morphological characteristics. This is a serious problem for making an adequate breeding plan in zoological gardens. In this paper, we investigated the continent-wide phylogeographical pattern of the African elephants and estimated the coalescence times among them. From these molecular data and geological evidence, we proposed an evolutionary scenario for the African elephants. We further demonstrated the effectiveness of molecular phylogenetic methods in species identification.

  18. Influence of dominance status on adrenal activity and ovarian cyclicity status in captive African elephants.

    PubMed

    Proctor, Christine M; Freeman, Elizabeth W; Brown, Janine L

    2010-01-01

    The North American African (Loxodonta africana) elephant population is not self-sustaining, in part because of a high rate of abnormal ovarian activity. About 12% of adult females exhibit irregular cycles and 31% do not cycle at all. Our earlier work revealed a relationship between dominance status and ovarian acyclicity, with dominant females being more likely to not cycle normally. One theory is that dominant females may be expending more energy to maintaining peace within the captive herd than for supporting reproduction. The goal of this study was to determine if there was a relationship among dominance status, serum cortisol concentrations, and ovarian acyclicity. We hypothesized that adrenal glucocorticoid activity would be increased in dominant, noncycling elephants as compared with subdominant individuals. Blood samples were collected weekly over a 2-year period in 81 females of known dominance and cyclicity status, and analyzed for cortisol. Based on a path analysis model (Reticular Action Model Or Near Approximation [RAMONA]), noncycling, dominant African elephant females did not have higher mean serum cortisol concentrations, or exhibit more variability (i.e., coefficient of variation, standard deviation) in cortisol secretion. This study suggests that alterations in adrenal activity are not related to dominance status nor contribute directly to acyclicity in captive African elephants.

  19. Testing the Accuracy of Aerial Surveys for Large Mammals: An Experiment with African Savanna Elephants (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

    Schlossberg, Scott; Chase, Michael J.; Griffin, Curtice R.

    2016-01-01

    Accurate counts of animals are critical for prioritizing conservation efforts. Past research, however, suggests that observers on aerial surveys may fail to detect all individuals of the target species present in the survey area. Such errors could bias population estimates low and confound trend estimation. We used two approaches to assess the accuracy of aerial surveys for African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) in northern Botswana. First, we used double-observer sampling, in which two observers make observations on the same herds, to estimate detectability of elephants and determine what variables affect it. Second, we compared total counts, a complete survey of the entire study area, against sample counts, in which only a portion of the study area is sampled. Total counts are often considered a complete census, so comparing total counts against sample counts can help to determine if sample counts are underestimating elephant numbers. We estimated that observers detected only 76% ± SE of 2% of elephant herds and 87 ± 1% of individual elephants present in survey strips. Detectability increased strongly with elephant herd size. Out of the four observers used in total, one observer had a lower detection probability than the other three, and detectability was higher in the rear row of seats than the front. The habitat immediately adjacent to animals also affected detectability, with detection more likely in more open habitats. Total counts were not statistically distinguishable from sample counts. Because, however, the double-observer samples revealed that observers missed 13% of elephants, we conclude that total counts may be undercounting elephants as well. These results suggest that elephant population estimates from both sample and total counts are biased low. Because factors such as observer and habitat affected detectability of elephants, comparisons of elephant populations across time or space may be confounded. We encourage survey teams to

  20. Genetic evidence for two species of elephant in Africa.

    PubMed

    Roca, A L; Georgiadis, N; Pecon-Slattery, J; O'Brien, S J

    2001-08-24

    Elephants from the tropical forests of Africa are morphologically distinct from savannah or bush elephants. Dart-biopsy samples from 195 free-ranging African elephants in 21 populations were examined for DNA sequence variation in four nuclear genes (1732 base pairs). Phylogenetic distinctions between African forest elephant and savannah elephant populations corresponded to 58% of the difference in the same genes between elephant genera Loxodonta (African) and Elephas (Asian). Large genetic distance, multiple genetically fixed nucleotide site differences, morphological and habitat distinctions, and extremely limited hybridization of gene flow between forest and savannah elephants support the recognition and conservation management of two African species: Loxodonta africana and Loxodonta cyclotis.

  1. Foot pressure distributions during walking in African elephants (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

    Pataky, Todd C.; Day, Madeleine; Hensman, Michael C.; Hensman, Sean; Hutchinson, John R.; Clemente, Christofer J.

    2016-01-01

    Elephants, the largest living land mammals, have evolved a specialized foot morphology to help reduce locomotor pressures while supporting their large body mass. Peak pressures that could cause tissue damage are mitigated passively by the anatomy of elephants' feet, yet this mechanism does not seem to work well for some captive animals. This study tests how foot pressures vary among African and Asian elephants from habitats where natural substrates predominate but where foot care protocols differ. Variations in pressure patterns might be related to differences in husbandry, including but not limited to trimming and the substrates that elephants typically stand and move on. Both species' samples exhibited the highest concentration of peak pressures on the lateral digits of their feet (which tend to develop more disease in elephants) and lower pressures around the heel. The trajectories of the foot's centre of pressure were also similar, confirming that when walking at similar speeds, both species load their feet laterally at impact and then shift their weight medially throughout the step until toe-off. Overall, we found evidence of variations in foot pressure patterns that might be attributable to husbandry and other causes, deserving further examination using broader, more comparable samples. PMID:27853539

  2. Synergistic effects of fire and elephants on arboreal animals in an African savanna.

    PubMed

    Pringle, Robert M; Kimuyu, Duncan M; Sensenig, Ryan L; Palmer, Todd M; Riginos, Corinna; Veblen, Kari E; Young, Truman P

    2015-11-01

    Disturbance is a crucial determinant of animal abundance, distribution and community structure in many ecosystems, but the ways in which multiple disturbance types interact remain poorly understood. The effects of multiple-disturbance interactions can be additive, subadditive or super-additive (synergistic). Synergistic effects in particular can accelerate ecological change; thus, characterizing such synergies, the conditions under which they arise, and how long they persist has been identified as a major goal of ecology. We factorially manipulated two principal sources of disturbance in African savannas, fire and elephants, and measured their independent and interactive effects on the numerically dominant vertebrate (the arboreal gekkonid lizard Lygodactylus keniensis) and invertebrate (a guild of symbiotic Acacia ants) animal species in a semi-arid Kenyan savanna. Elephant exclusion alone (minus fire) had negligible effects on gecko density. Fire alone (minus elephants) had negligible effects on gecko density after 4 months, but increased gecko density twofold after 16 months, likely because the decay of fire-damaged woody biomass created refuges and nest sites for geckos. In the presence of elephants, fire increased gecko density nearly threefold within 4 months of the experimental burn; this occurred because fire increased the incidence of elephant damage to trees, which in turn improved microhabitat quality for geckos. However, this synergistic positive effect of fire and elephants attenuated over the ensuing year, such that only the main effect of fire was evident after 16 months. Fire also altered the structure of symbiotic plant-ant assemblages occupying the dominant tree species (Acacia drepanolobium); this influenced gecko habitat selection but did not explain the synergistic effect of fire and elephants. However, fire-driven shifts in plant-ant occupancy may have indirectly mediated this effect by increasing trees' susceptibility to elephant damage. Our

  3. Evidence that hyperprolactinaemia is associated with ovarian acyclicity in female zoo African elephants.

    PubMed

    Dow, T L; Brown, J L

    2012-01-01

    African elephants of reproductive age in zoos are experiencing high rates of ovarian cycle problems (>40%) and low reproductive success. Previously, our laboratory found that 1/3 of acyclic females exhibit hyperprolactinaemia, a likely cause of ovarian dysfunction. This follow-up study re-examined hyperprolactinaemia in African elephants and found the problem has increased significantly to 71% of acyclic females. Circulating serum progestagens and prolactin were analysed in 31 normal cycling, 13 irregular cycling and 31 acyclic elephants for 12 months. In acyclic females, overall mean prolactin concentrations differed from cycling females (P < 0.05), with concentrations being either higher (n = 22; 54.90 ± 13.31 ngmL(-1)) or lower (n = 9; 6.47 ± 1.73 ngmL(-1)) than normal. No temporal patterns of prolactin secretion were evident in elephants that lacked progestagen cycles. In cycling females, prolactin was secreted in a cyclical manner, with higher concentrations observed during nonluteal (34.38 ± 1.77 and 32.75 ± 2.61 ngmL(-1)) than luteal (10.51 ± 0.30 and 9.67 ± 0.42 ngmL(-1)) phases for normal and irregular females, respectively. Of most concern was that over two-thirds of acyclic females now are hyperprolactinemic, a dramatic increase over that observed 7 years earlier. Furthermore, females of reproductive age constituted 45% of elephants with hyperprolactinaemia. Until the cause of this problem is identified and a treatment is developed, reproductive rates will remain suboptimal and the population nonsustaining.

  4. Ivory Harvesting Pressure on the Genome of the African Elephant: A Phenotypic Shift to Tusklessness.

    PubMed

    Raubenheimer, Erich J; Miniggio, Hilde D

    2016-09-01

    The unique chequered pattern of elephant ivory has made it a desired commodity for the production of various works of art. The demand however outstrips the supply and with soaring prices, illegal tusk harvesting is thriving on the African continent. Formal restrictions placed on trade in elephant products have been ineffective in reversing the rapid decline in elephant numbers. We are presently facing the reality of extinction of free roaming elephant on the African continent. This paper describes the histogenesis of the chequered pattern, the genomic impact of ivory harvesting on the phenotype of breeding herds, and the contribution of science to tracing the origin of illegal ivory.

  5. The fluidity of blood in African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Windberger, U; Plasenzotti, R; Voracek, Th

    2005-01-01

    The large cellular volume of erythrocytes and the increased plasma concentration of proteins in elephants are factors which potentially affect blood rheology adversely. To verify blood rheology, routine hemorheologic variables were analyzed in four African elephants (Loxodonta africana), housed in the zoo of Vienna. Whole blood viscosity at three different shear rates (WBV at low shear rate: WBV 0.7 s(-1) and WBV 2.4 s(-1); WBV at high shear rate: WBV 94 s(-1) done by LS30, Contraves) and erythrocyte aggregation (aggregation indices AI by LS30; aggregation indices M0, M1 by Myrenne aggregometer) were high (WBV 94 s(-1): 5.368 (5.246/5.648); WBV 2.4 s(-1): 16.291 (15.605/17.629); WBV 0.7 s(-1): 28.28 (25.537/32.173) mPa s; AI 2.4 s(-1): 0.25 (0.23/0.30); AI 0.7 s(-1): 0.24 (0.23/0.28); M0: 7.8 (6.4/8.4); M1: 30.2 (25/31)). Plasma viscosity (PV) was increased as well (1.865 (1.857/1.912) mPa s) compared to other mammalian species. These parameters would indicate a decrease in blood fluidity in elephants. However, erythrocyte rigidity (LORCA, Mechatronics) was decreased, which in contrast, has a promotive effect on peripheral perfusion. Blood rheology of the elephants was determined by a high whole blood and plasma viscosity as the result of pronounced erythrocyte aggregation and high plasma protein concentration. Thus, in the terminal vessels the resistance to flow will be increased. The large erythrocytes, which might impede blood flow further due to geometrical reasons, however, had a pronounced flexibility. We conclude that the effect of the increased inner resistance to peripheral blood flow was counteracted by the decreased rigidity of the erythrocytes to enable an adequate blood flow in African elephants.

  6. Simultaneous modeling of habitat suitability, occupancy, and relative abundance: African elephants in Zimbabwe.

    PubMed

    Martin, Julien; Chamaillé-Jammes, Simon; Nichols, James D; Fritz, Hervé; Hines, James E; Fonnesbeck, Christopher J; MacKenzie, Darryl I; Bailey, Larissa L

    2010-06-01

    The recent development of statistical models such as dynamic site occupancy models provides the opportunity to address fairly complex management and conservation problems with relatively simple models. However, surprisingly few empirical studies have simultaneously modeled habitat suitability and occupancy status of organisms over large landscapes for management purposes. Joint modeling of these components is particularly important in the context of management of wild populations, as it provides a more coherent framework to investigate the population dynamics of organisms in space and time for the application of management decision tools. We applied such an approach to the study of water hole use by African elephants in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. Here we show how such methodology may be implemented and derive estimates of annual transition probabilities among three dry-season states for water holes: (1) unsuitable state (dry water holes with no elephants); (2) suitable state (water hole with water) with low abundance of elephants; and (3) suitable state with high abundance of elephants. We found that annual rainfall and the number of neighboring water holes influenced the transition probabilities among these three states. Because of an increase in elephant densities in the park during the study period, we also found that transition probabilities from low abundance to high abundance states increased over time. The application of the joint habitat-occupancy models provides a coherent framework to examine how habitat suitability and factors that affect habitat suitability influence the distribution and abundance of organisms. We discuss how these simple models can further be used to apply structured decision-making tools in order to derive decisions that are optimal relative to specified management objectives. The modeling framework presented in this paper should be applicable to a wide range of existing data sets and should help to address important ecological

  7. Simultaneous modeling of habitat suitability, occupancy, and relative abundance: African elephants in Zimbabwe

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Martin, Julien; Chamaille-Jammes, Simon; Nichols, James D.; Fritz, Herve; Hines, James E.; Fonnesbeck, Christopher J.; MacKenzie, Darryl I.; Bailey, Larissa L.

    2010-01-01

    The recent development of statistical models such as dynamic site occupancy models provides the opportunity to address fairly complex management and conservation problems with relatively simple models. However, surprisingly few empirical studies have simultaneously modeled habitat suitability and occupancy status of organisms over large landscapes for management purposes. Joint modeling of these components is particularly important in the context of management of wild populations, as it provides a more coherent framework to investigate the population dynamics of organisms in space and time for the application of management decision tools. We applied such an approach to the study of water hole use by African elephants in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. Here we show how such methodology may be implemented and derive estimates of annual transition probabilities among three dry-season states for water holes: (1) unsuitable state (dry water holes with no elephants); (2) suitable state (water hole with water) with low abundance of elephants; and (3) suitable state with high abundance of elephants. We found that annual rainfall and the number of neighboring water holes influenced the transition probabilities among these three states. Because of an increase in elephant densities in the park during the study period, we also found that transition probabilities from low abundance to high abundance states increased over time. The application of the joint habitat–occupancy models provides a coherent framework to examine how habitat suitability and factors that affect habitat suitability influence the distribution and abundance of organisms. We discuss how these simple models can further be used to apply structured decision-making tools in order to derive decisions that are optimal relative to specified management objectives. The modeling framework presented in this paper should be applicable to a wide range of existing data sets and should help to address important ecological

  8. Personality assessment and its association with genetic factors in captive Asian and African elephants.

    PubMed

    Yasui, Saki; Konno, Akitsugu; Tanaka, Masayuki; Idani, Gen'ichi; Ludwig, Arne; Lieckfeldt, Dietmar; Inoue-Murayama, Miho

    2013-01-01

    Elephants live in a complex society based on matrilineal groups. Management of captive elephants is difficult, partly because each elephant has a unique personality. For a better understanding of elephant well being in captivity, it would be helpful to systematically evaluate elephants' personalities and their underlying biological basis. We sent elephant' personality questionnaires to keepers of 75 elephants. We also used 196 elephant DNA samples to search for genetic polymorphisms in genes expressed in the brain that have been suggested to be related to personality traits. Three genes, androgen receptor (AR), fragile X related mental retardation protein interacting protein (NUFIP2), and acheate-scute homologs 1 (ASH1) contained polymorphic regions. We examined the association of personality with intraspecific genetic variation in 17 Asian and 28 African elephants. The results suggest that the ASH1 genotype was associated with neuroticism in Asian elephants. Subjects with short alleles had lower scores of neuroticism than those with long alleles. This is the first report of an association between a genetic polymorphism and personality in elephants.

  9. Fecal 20-oxo-pregnane concentrations in free-ranging African elephants (Loxodonta africana) treated with porcine zona pellucida vaccine.

    PubMed

    Ahlers, M J; Ganswindt, A; Münscher, S; Bertschinger, H J

    2012-07-01

    Because of overpopulation of African elephants in South Africa and the consequent threat to biodiversity, the need for a method of population control has become evident. In this regard, the potential use of the porcine zona pellucida (pZP) vaccine as an effective means for population control is explored. While potential effects of pZP treatment on social behavior of African elephants have been investigated, no examination of the influence of pZP vaccination on the endocrine correlates in treated females has been undertaken. In this study, ovarian activity of free-ranging, pZP-treated African elephant females was monitored noninvasively for 1 yr at Thornybush Private Nature Reserve, South Africa, by measuring fecal 5α-pregnan-3β-ol-20-on concentrations via enzyme immunoassay. A total of 719 fecal samples from 19 individuals were collected over the study period, averaging 38 samples collected per individual (minimum, maximum: 16, 52). Simultaneously, behavioral observations were made to record the occurrence of estrous behavior for comparison. Each elephant under study showed 5α-pregnan-3β-ol-20-on concentrations rising above baseline at some period during the study indicating luteal activity. Average 5α-pregnan-3β-ol-20-on concentrations were 1.61 ± 0.46 μg/g (mean ± SD). Within sampled females, 42.9% exhibited estrous cycles within the range reported for captive African elephants, 14.3% had irregular cycles, and 42.9% did not appear to be cycling. Average estrous cycle duration was 14.72 ± 0.85 wk. Estrous behavior coincided with the onset of the luteal phase and a subsequent rise in 5α-pregnan-3β-ol-20-on concentrations. Average 5α-pregnan-3β-ol-20-on levels positively correlated with rainfall. No association between average individual 5α-pregnan-3β-ol-20-on concentrations or cyclicity status with age or parity were detected. Earlier determination of efficacy was established via fecal hormone analysis with no pregnancies determined 22 mo post

  10. Acquisition of brains from the African elephant (Loxodonta africana): perfusion-fixation and dissection.

    PubMed

    Manger, Paul R; Pillay, Praneshri; Maseko, Busisiwe C; Bhagwandin, Adhil; Gravett, Nadine; Moon, Don-Joon; Jillani, Ngalla; Hemingway, Jason

    2009-04-30

    The current correspondence describes the in situ perfusion-fixation of the brain of the African elephant. Due to both the large size of proboscidean brains and the complex behaviour of these species, the acquisition of good quality material for comparative neuroanatomical analysis from these species is important. Three male African elephants (20-30 years) that were to be culled as part of a larger population management strategy were used. The animals were humanely euthanized and the head removed from the body. Large tubes were inserted into to the carotid arteries and the cranial vasculature flushed with a rapid (20 min) rinse of 100 l of cold saline (4 degrees C). Following the rinse the head was perfusion-fixed with a slower rinse (40 min) of 100 l of cold (4 degrees C) 4% paraformaldehyde in 0.1M phosphate buffer. This procedure resulted in well-fixed neural and other tissue. After perfusion the brains were removed from the skull with the aid of power tools, a procedure taking between 2 and 6h. The brains were immediately post-fixed in the same solution for 72 h at 4 degrees C. The brains were subsequently placed in a sucrose solution and finally an antifreeze solution and are stored in a -20 degrees C freezer. The acquisition of high quality neural material from African elephants that can be used for immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy is of importance in understanding the "hardware" underlying the behaviour of this species. This technique can be used on a variety of large mammals to obtain high quality material for comparative neuroanatomical studies.

  11. [Contribution of molecular phylogeny and morphometrics to the systematics of African elephants].

    PubMed

    Debruyne, Régis

    2004-01-01

    African elephants are conventionally classified as a single species: Loxodonta africana (Blumenbach 1797). However, the discovery in 1900 of a smaller form of the African elephant, spread throughout the equatorial belt of this land, has given rise to a debate over the relevance of a second species of elephant in Africa. The twentieth century has not provided any definite answer to this question. Actually, recent molecular analyses have sustained this issue by advocating either a division of forest elephants into a valid species, or their inclusion as a subspecies of L. africana. Our work initiated at the National Museum of Natural History of Paris provides new molecular (mitochondrial) and morphological (and morphometrical) evidence making it possible to propose a comprehensive phylogenetic hypothesis. It appears that there is no conclusive argument to keep forest elephants (cyclotis form) and savannah elephants (africana form) apart in two distinct species. A high level of mitochondrial introgression between the two forms, as well as a continuum in the morphology of the skulls of the two morphotypes rather suggests that, despite an ancient division, these two taxa freely interbreed wherever their ranges intersect. We thus adopt a conservative systematic position in considering these two forms as two subspecies, respectively: L. africana africana, the savannah elephant, and L. africana cyclotis, the forest elephant. We finally discuss the conservation topic in the light of this systematic framework.

  12. Assessment of Body Condition in African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) Elephants in North American Zoos and Management Practices Associated with High Body Condition Scores

    PubMed Central

    Morfeld, Kari A.; Meehan, Cheryl L.; Hogan, Jennifer N.; Brown, Janine L.

    2016-01-01

    Obesity has a negative effect on health and welfare of many species, and has been speculated to be a problem for zoo elephants. To address this concern, we assessed the body condition of 240 elephants housed in North American zoos based on a set of standardized photographs using a 5-point Body Condition Score index (1 = thinnest; 5 = fattest). A multi-variable regression analysis was then used to determine how demographic, management, housing, and social factors were associated with an elevated body condition score in 132 African (Loxodonta africana) and 108 Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants. The highest BCS of 5, suggestive of obesity, was observed in 34% of zoo elephants. In both species, the majority of elephants had elevated BCS, with 74% in the BCS 4 (40%) and 5 (34%) categories. Only 22% of elephants had BCS 3, and less than 5% of the population was assigned the lowest BCS categories (BCS 1 and 2). The strongest multi-variable model demonstrated that staff-directed walking exercise of 14 hours or more per week and highly unpredictable feeding schedules were associated with decreased risk of BCS 4 or 5, while increased diversity in feeding methods and being female was associated with increased risk of BCS 4 or 5. Our data suggest that high body condition is prevalent among North American zoo elephants, and management strategies that help prevent and mitigate obesity may lead to improvements in welfare of zoo elephants. PMID:27415629

  13. Assessment of Body Condition in African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) Elephants in North American Zoos and Management Practices Associated with High Body Condition Scores.

    PubMed

    Morfeld, Kari A; Meehan, Cheryl L; Hogan, Jennifer N; Brown, Janine L

    2016-01-01

    Obesity has a negative effect on health and welfare of many species, and has been speculated to be a problem for zoo elephants. To address this concern, we assessed the body condition of 240 elephants housed in North American zoos based on a set of standardized photographs using a 5-point Body Condition Score index (1 = thinnest; 5 = fattest). A multi-variable regression analysis was then used to determine how demographic, management, housing, and social factors were associated with an elevated body condition score in 132 African (Loxodonta africana) and 108 Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants. The highest BCS of 5, suggestive of obesity, was observed in 34% of zoo elephants. In both species, the majority of elephants had elevated BCS, with 74% in the BCS 4 (40%) and 5 (34%) categories. Only 22% of elephants had BCS 3, and less than 5% of the population was assigned the lowest BCS categories (BCS 1 and 2). The strongest multi-variable model demonstrated that staff-directed walking exercise of 14 hours or more per week and highly unpredictable feeding schedules were associated with decreased risk of BCS 4 or 5, while increased diversity in feeding methods and being female was associated with increased risk of BCS 4 or 5. Our data suggest that high body condition is prevalent among North American zoo elephants, and management strategies that help prevent and mitigate obesity may lead to improvements in welfare of zoo elephants.

  14. Ticks of four-toed elephant shrews and Southern African hedgehogs.

    PubMed

    Horak, Ivan G; Welman, Shaun; Hallam, Stacey L; Lutermann, Heike; Mzilikazi, Nomakwezi

    2011-03-17

    Several studies on ticks infesting small mammals, including elephant shrews, have been conducted in South Africa; however, these studies have included only a single four-toed elephant shrew and no hedgehogs. This study thus aimed to identify and quantify the ixodid ticks infesting four-toed elephant shrews and Southern African hedgehogs. Four-toed elephant shrews (Petrodromus tetradactylus) were trapped in dense shrub undergrowth in a nature reserve in north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal. They were separately housed, first in cages and later in glass terraria fitted with wire-mesh bases to allow detached ticks to fall through for collection. Southern African hedgehogs (Atelerix frontalis) were hand caught on a farm in the eastern region of the Northern Cape Province and all visible ticks were collected by means of tweezers while the animals were anaesthetised. The ticks from each animal were preserved separately in 70% ethanol for later identification and counting. The immature stages of five ixodid tick species were collected from the elephant shrews, of which Rhipicephalus muehlensi was the most common. It has not been recorded previously on any species of elephant shrew. Three ixodid tick species were collected from the hedgehogs. Large numbers of adult Haemaphysalis colesbergensis, which has not been encountered previously on hedgehogs, were collected from these animals. Four-toed elephant shrews are good hosts of the larvae and nymphs of R. muehlensi, and Southern African hedgehogs are good hosts of adult H. colesbergensis.

  15. Molecular characterization of adipose tissue in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Nilsson, Emeli M; Fainberg, Hernan P; Choong, Siew S; Giles, Thomas C; Sells, James; May, Sean; Stansfield, Fiona J; Allen, William R; Emes, Richard D; Mostyn, Alison; Mongan, Nigel P; Yon, Lisa

    2014-01-01

    Adipose tissue (AT) is a dynamic and flexible organ with regulatory roles in physiological functions including metabolism, reproduction and inflammation; secreted adipokines, including leptin, and fatty acids facilitate many of these roles. The African elephant (Loxodonta africana) is experiencing serious challenges to optimal reproduction in captivity. The physiological and molecular basis of this impaired fertility remains unknown. AT production of leptin is a crucial molecular link between nutritional status, adiposity and fertility in many species. We propose that leptin has a similar function in the African elephant. African elephant visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue (AT) was obtained from both sexes and a range of ages including females with known pregnancy status. RNA was extracted and histological sections created and analyzed by microarray, PCR and immunohistochemistry respectively. Gas-chromatography was used to determine the fatty acid composition of AT. Microarray expression profiling was used to compare gene expression profiles of AT from pre-pubertal versus reproductively competent adult African elephants. This study demonstrates, for the first time, leptin mRNA and protein expression in African elephant AT. The derived protein sequence of the elephant leptin protein was exploited to determine its relationship within the class I helical cytokine superfamily, which indicates that elephant leptin is most closely related to the leptin orthologs of Oryctolagus cuniculus (European rabbit), Lepus oiostolus (woolly hare), and members of the Ochotonidae (Pika). Immunohistological analysis identified considerable leptin staining within the cytoplasm of adipocytes. Significant differences in fatty acid profiles between pregnant and non-pregnant animals were revealed, most notably a reduction in both linoleic and α linoleic acid in pregnant animals. This report forms the basis for future studies to address the effect of nutrient composition and body

  16. Molecular Characterization of Adipose Tissue in the African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

    Choong, Siew S.; Giles, Thomas C.; Sells, James; May, Sean; Stansfield, Fiona J.; Allen, William R.; Emes, Richard D.; Mostyn, Alison; Mongan, Nigel P.; Yon, Lisa

    2014-01-01

    Adipose tissue (AT) is a dynamic and flexible organ with regulatory roles in physiological functions including metabolism, reproduction and inflammation; secreted adipokines, including leptin, and fatty acids facilitate many of these roles. The African elephant (Loxodonta africana) is experiencing serious challenges to optimal reproduction in captivity. The physiological and molecular basis of this impaired fertility remains unknown. AT production of leptin is a crucial molecular link between nutritional status, adiposity and fertility in many species. We propose that leptin has a similar function in the African elephant. African elephant visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue (AT) was obtained from both sexes and a range of ages including females with known pregnancy status. RNA was extracted and histological sections created and analyzed by microarray, PCR and immunohistochemistry respectively. Gas-chromatography was used to determine the fatty acid composition of AT. Microarray expression profiling was used to compare gene expression profiles of AT from pre-pubertal versus reproductively competent adult African elephants. This study demonstrates, for the first time, leptin mRNA and protein expression in African elephant AT. The derived protein sequence of the elephant leptin protein was exploited to determine its relationship within the class I helical cytokine superfamily, which indicates that elephant leptin is most closely related to the leptin orthologs of Oryctolagus cuniculus (European rabbit), Lepus oiostolus (woolly hare), and members of the Ochotonidae (Pika). Immunohistological analysis identified considerable leptin staining within the cytoplasm of adipocytes. Significant differences in fatty acid profiles between pregnant and non-pregnant animals were revealed, most notably a reduction in both linoleic and α linoleic acid in pregnant animals. This report forms the basis for future studies to address the effect of nutrient composition and body

  17. The influence of life history milestones and association networks on crop-raiding behavior in male African elephants.

    PubMed

    Chiyo, Patrick I; Moss, Cynthia J; Alberts, Susan C

    2012-01-01

    Factors that influence learning and the spread of behavior in wild animal populations are important for understanding species responses to changing environments and for species conservation. In populations of wildlife species that come into conflict with humans by raiding cultivated crops, simple models of exposure of individual animals to crops do not entirely explain the prevalence of crop raiding behavior. We investigated the influence of life history milestones using age and association patterns on the probability of being a crop raider among wild free ranging male African elephants; we focused on males because female elephants are not known to raid crops in our study population. We examined several features of an elephant association network; network density, community structure and association based on age similarity since they are known to influence the spread of behaviors in a population. We found that older males were more likely to be raiders than younger males, that males were more likely to be raiders when their closest associates were also raiders, and that males were more likely to be raiders when their second closest associates were raiders older than them. The male association network had sparse associations, a tendency for individuals similar in age and raiding status to associate, and a strong community structure. However, raiders were randomly distributed between communities. These features of the elephant association network may limit the spread of raiding behavior and likely determine the prevalence of raiding behavior in elephant populations. Our results suggest that social learning has a major influence on the acquisition of raiding behavior in younger males whereas life history factors are important drivers of raiding behavior in older males. Further, both life-history and network patterns may influence the acquisition and spread of complex behaviors in animal populations and provide insight on managing human-wildlife conflict.

  18. Skeletal development in the African elephant and ossification timing in placental mammals.

    PubMed

    Hautier, Lionel; Stansfield, Fiona J; Allen, W R Twink; Asher, Robert J

    2012-06-07

    We provide here unique data on elephant skeletal ontogeny. We focus on the sequence of cranial and post-cranial ossification events during growth in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana). Previous analyses on ossification sequences in mammals have focused on monotremes, marsupials, boreoeutherian and xenarthran placentals. Here, we add data on ossification sequences in an afrotherian. We use two different methods to quantify sequence heterochrony: the sequence method and event-paring/Parsimov. Compared with other placentals, elephants show late ossifications of the basicranium, manual and pedal phalanges, and early ossifications of the ischium and metacarpals. Moreover, ossification in elephants starts very early and progresses rapidly. Specifically, the elephant exhibits the same percentage of bones showing an ossification centre at the end of the first third of its gestation period as the mouse and hamster have close to birth. Elephants show a number of features of their ossification patterns that differ from those of other placental mammals. The pattern of the initiation of the ossification evident in the African elephant underscores a possible correlation between the timing of ossification onset and gestation time throughout mammals.

  19. The Days and Nights of Zoo Elephants: Using Epidemiology to Better Understand Stereotypic Behavior of African Elephants (Loxodonta africana) and Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus) in North American Zoos.

    PubMed

    Greco, Brian J; Meehan, Cheryl L; Hogan, Jen N; Leighty, Katherine A; Mellen, Jill; Mason, Georgia J; Mench, Joy A

    2016-01-01

    Stereotypic behavior is an important indicator of compromised welfare. Zoo elephants are documented to perform stereotypic behavior, but the factors that contribute to performance have not been systematically assessed. We collected behavioral data on 89 elephants (47 African [Loxodonta africana], 42 Asian [Elephas maximus]) at 39 North American zoos during the summer and winter. Elephants were videoed for a median of 12 daytime hours per season. A subset of 32 elephants (19 African, 13 Asian) was also observed live for a median of 10.5 nighttime hours. Percentages of visible behavior scans were calculated from five minute instantaneous samples. Stereotypic behavior was the second most commonly performed behavior (after feeding), making up 15.5% of observations during the daytime and 24.8% at nighttime. Negative binomial regression models fitted with generalized estimating equations were used to determine which social, housing, management, life history, and demographic variables were associated with daytime and nighttime stereotypic behavior rates. Species was a significant risk factor in both models, with Asian elephants at greater risk (daytime: p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 4.087; nighttime: p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 8.015). For both species, spending time housed separately (p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 1.009), and having experienced inter-zoo transfers (p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 1.175), increased the risk of performing higher rates of stereotypy during the day, while spending more time with juvenile elephants (p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 0.985), and engaging with zoo staff reduced this risk (p = 0.018, Risk Ratio = 0.988). At night, spending more time in environments with both indoor and outdoor areas (p = 0.013, Risk Ratio = 0.987) and in larger social groups (p = 0.039, Risk Ratio = 0.752) corresponded with reduced risk of performing higher rates of stereotypy, while having experienced inter-zoo transfers (p = 0.033, Risk Ratio = 1.115) increased this risk. Overall, our results indicate

  20. The Days and Nights of Zoo Elephants: Using Epidemiology to Better Understand Stereotypic Behavior of African Elephants (Loxodonta africana) and Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus) in North American Zoos

    PubMed Central

    Greco, Brian J.; Meehan, Cheryl L.; Hogan, Jen N.; Leighty, Katherine A.; Mellen, Jill; Mason, Georgia J.; Mench, Joy A.

    2016-01-01

    Stereotypic behavior is an important indicator of compromised welfare. Zoo elephants are documented to perform stereotypic behavior, but the factors that contribute to performance have not been systematically assessed. We collected behavioral data on 89 elephants (47 African [Loxodonta africana], 42 Asian [Elephas maximus]) at 39 North American zoos during the summer and winter. Elephants were videoed for a median of 12 daytime hours per season. A subset of 32 elephants (19 African, 13 Asian) was also observed live for a median of 10.5 nighttime hours. Percentages of visible behavior scans were calculated from five minute instantaneous samples. Stereotypic behavior was the second most commonly performed behavior (after feeding), making up 15.5% of observations during the daytime and 24.8% at nighttime. Negative binomial regression models fitted with generalized estimating equations were used to determine which social, housing, management, life history, and demographic variables were associated with daytime and nighttime stereotypic behavior rates. Species was a significant risk factor in both models, with Asian elephants at greater risk (daytime: p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 4.087; nighttime: p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 8.015). For both species, spending time housed separately (p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 1.009), and having experienced inter-zoo transfers (p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 1.175), increased the risk of performing higher rates of stereotypy during the day, while spending more time with juvenile elephants (p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 0.985), and engaging with zoo staff reduced this risk (p = 0.018, Risk Ratio = 0.988). At night, spending more time in environments with both indoor and outdoor areas (p = 0.013, Risk Ratio = 0.987) and in larger social groups (p = 0.039, Risk Ratio = 0.752) corresponded with reduced risk of performing higher rates of stereotypy, while having experienced inter-zoo transfers (p = 0.033, Risk Ratio = 1.115) increased this risk. Overall, our results indicate

  1. The reproductive advantages of a long life: longevity and senescence in wild female African elephants.

    PubMed

    Lee, Phyllis C; Fishlock, Victoria; Webber, C Elizabeth; Moss, Cynthia J

    Long-lived species such as elephants, whales and primates exhibit extended post-fertile survival compared to species with shorter lifespans but data on age-related fecundity and survival are limited to few species or populations. We assess relationships between longevity, reproductive onset, reproductive rate and age for 834 longitudinally monitored wild female African elephants in Amboseli, Kenya. The mean known age at first reproduction was 13.8 years; only 5 % commenced reproduction by 10 years. Early reproducers (<12.5 years) had higher age-specific fertility rates than did females who commenced reproduction late (15+ years) with no differences in survival between these groups. Age-specific reproductive rates of females dying before 40 years were reduced by comparison to same-aged survivors, illustrating a mortality filter and reproductive advantages of a long life. Overall, 95 % of fertility was completed before 50, and 95 % of mortality experienced by age 65, with a mean life expectancy of 41 years for females who survived to the minimum age at first birth (9 years). Elephant females have a relatively long period (c. 16 years) of viability after 95 % completed fertility, although reproduction does not entirely cease until they are over 65. We found no evidence of increased investment among females aged over 40 in terms of delay to next birth or calf mortality. The presence of a mother reproducing simultaneously with her daughter was associated with higher rates of daughter reproduction suggesting advantages from maternal (and grandmaternal) co-residence during reproduction.

  2. Reproductive Health Assessment of Female Elephants in North American Zoos and Association of Husbandry Practices with Reproductive Dysfunction in African Elephants (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

    Meehan, Cheryl L.; Hogan, Jennifer N.; Morfeld, Kari A.; Carlstead, Kathy

    2016-01-01

    As part of a multi-institutional study of zoo elephant welfare, we evaluated female elephants managed by zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and applied epidemiological methods to determine what factors in the zoo environment are associated with reproductive problems, including ovarian acyclicity and hyperprolactinemia. Bi-weekly blood samples were collected from 95 African (Loxodonta africana) and 75 Asian (Elephas maximus) (8–55 years of age) elephants over a 12-month period for analysis of serum progestogens and prolactin. Females were categorized as normal cycling (regular 13- to 17-week cycles), irregular cycling (cycles longer or shorter than normal) or acyclic (baseline progestogens, <0.1 ng/ml throughout), and having Low/Normal (<14 or 18 ng/ml) or High (≥14 or 18 ng/ml) prolactin for Asian and African elephants, respectively. Rates of normal cycling, acyclicity and irregular cycling were 73.2, 22.5 and 4.2% for Asian, and 48.4, 37.9 and 13.7% for African elephants, respectively, all of which differed between species (P < 0.05). For African elephants, univariate assessment found that social isolation decreased and higher enrichment diversity increased the chance a female would cycle normally. The strongest multi-variable models included Age (positive) and Enrichment Diversity (negative) as important factors of acyclicity among African elephants. The Asian elephant data set was not robust enough to support multi-variable analyses of cyclicity status. Additionally, only 3% of Asian elephants were found to be hyperprolactinemic as compared to 28% of Africans, so predictive analyses of prolactin status were conducted on African elephants only. The strongest multi-variable model included Age (positive), Enrichment Diversity (negative), Alternate Feeding Methods (negative) and Social Group Contact (positive) as predictors of hyperprolactinemia. In summary, the incidence of ovarian cycle problems and hyperprolactinemia predominantly

  3. Reproductive Health Assessment of Female Elephants in North American Zoos and Association of Husbandry Practices with Reproductive Dysfunction in African Elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Brown, Janine L; Paris, Stephen; Prado-Oviedo, Natalia A; Meehan, Cheryl L; Hogan, Jennifer N; Morfeld, Kari A; Carlstead, Kathy

    2016-01-01

    As part of a multi-institutional study of zoo elephant welfare, we evaluated female elephants managed by zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and applied epidemiological methods to determine what factors in the zoo environment are associated with reproductive problems, including ovarian acyclicity and hyperprolactinemia. Bi-weekly blood samples were collected from 95 African (Loxodonta africana) and 75 Asian (Elephas maximus) (8-55 years of age) elephants over a 12-month period for analysis of serum progestogens and prolactin. Females were categorized as normal cycling (regular 13- to 17-week cycles), irregular cycling (cycles longer or shorter than normal) or acyclic (baseline progestogens, <0.1 ng/ml throughout), and having Low/Normal (<14 or 18 ng/ml) or High (≥14 or 18 ng/ml) prolactin for Asian and African elephants, respectively. Rates of normal cycling, acyclicity and irregular cycling were 73.2, 22.5 and 4.2% for Asian, and 48.4, 37.9 and 13.7% for African elephants, respectively, all of which differed between species (P < 0.05). For African elephants, univariate assessment found that social isolation decreased and higher enrichment diversity increased the chance a female would cycle normally. The strongest multi-variable models included Age (positive) and Enrichment Diversity (negative) as important factors of acyclicity among African elephants. The Asian elephant data set was not robust enough to support multi-variable analyses of cyclicity status. Additionally, only 3% of Asian elephants were found to be hyperprolactinemic as compared to 28% of Africans, so predictive analyses of prolactin status were conducted on African elephants only. The strongest multi-variable model included Age (positive), Enrichment Diversity (negative), Alternate Feeding Methods (negative) and Social Group Contact (positive) as predictors of hyperprolactinemia. In summary, the incidence of ovarian cycle problems and hyperprolactinemia predominantly affects

  4. African elephants show high levels of interest in the skulls and ivory of their own species.

    PubMed

    McComb, Karen; Baker, Lucy; Moss, Cynthia

    2006-03-22

    An important area of biology involves investigating the origins in animals of traits that are thought of as uniquely human. One way that humans appear unique is in the importance they attach to the dead bodies of other humans, particularly those of their close kin, and the rituals that they have developed for burying them. In contrast, most animals appear to show only limited interest in the carcasses or associated remains of dead individuals of their own species. African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are unusual in that they not only give dramatic reactions to the dead bodies of other elephants, but are also reported to systematically investigate elephant bones and tusks that they encounter, and it has sometimes been suggested that they visit the bones of relatives. Here, we use systematic presentations of object arrays to demonstrate that African elephants show higher levels of interest in elephant skulls and ivory than in natural objects or the skulls of other large terrestrial mammals. However, they do not appear to specifically select the skulls of their own relatives for investigation so that visits to dead relatives probably result from a more general attraction to elephant remains.

  5. Evaluation of Demographics and Social Life Events of Asian (Elephas maximus) and African Elephants (Loxodonta africana) in North American Zoos

    PubMed Central

    Prado-Oviedo, Natalia A.; Bonaparte-Saller, Mary K.; Malloy, Elizabeth J.; Meehan, Cheryl L.; Mench, Joy A.; Carlstead, Kathy; Brown, Janine L.

    2016-01-01

    This study quantified social life events hypothesized to affect the welfare of zoo African and Asian elephants, focusing on animals that were part of a large multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional elephant welfare study in North America. Age was calculated based on recorded birth dates and an age-based account of life event data for each elephant was compiled. These event histories included facility transfers, births and deaths of offspring, and births and deaths of non-offspring herd mates. Each event was evaluated as a total number of events per elephant, lifetime rate of event exposure, and age at first event exposure. These were then compared across three categories: species (African vs. Asian); sex (male vs. female); and origin (imported vs. captive-born). Mean age distributions differed (p<0.05) between the categories: African elephants were 6 years younger than Asian elephants, males were 12 years younger than females, and captive-born elephants were 20 years younger than imported elephants. Overall, the number of transfers ranged from 0 to 10, with a 33% higher age-adjusted transfer rate for imported African than imported Asian elephants, and 37% lower rate for imported females than males (p<0.05). Other differences (p<0.05) included a 96% higher rate of offspring births for captive-born females than those imported from range countries, a 159% higher rate of birthing event exposures for captive-born males than for their imported counterparts, and Asian elephant females being 4 years younger than African females when they produced their first calf. In summarizing demographic and social life events of elephants in North American zoos, we found both qualitative and quantitative differences in the early lives of imported versus captive-born elephants that could have long-term welfare implications. PMID:27415437

  6. Evaluation of Demographics and Social Life Events of Asian (Elephas maximus) and African Elephants (Loxodonta africana) in North American Zoos.

    PubMed

    Prado-Oviedo, Natalia A; Bonaparte-Saller, Mary K; Malloy, Elizabeth J; Meehan, Cheryl L; Mench, Joy A; Carlstead, Kathy; Brown, Janine L

    2016-01-01

    This study quantified social life events hypothesized to affect the welfare of zoo African and Asian elephants, focusing on animals that were part of a large multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional elephant welfare study in North America. Age was calculated based on recorded birth dates and an age-based account of life event data for each elephant was compiled. These event histories included facility transfers, births and deaths of offspring, and births and deaths of non-offspring herd mates. Each event was evaluated as a total number of events per elephant, lifetime rate of event exposure, and age at first event exposure. These were then compared across three categories: species (African vs. Asian); sex (male vs. female); and origin (imported vs. captive-born). Mean age distributions differed (p<0.05) between the categories: African elephants were 6 years younger than Asian elephants, males were 12 years younger than females, and captive-born elephants were 20 years younger than imported elephants. Overall, the number of transfers ranged from 0 to 10, with a 33% higher age-adjusted transfer rate for imported African than imported Asian elephants, and 37% lower rate for imported females than males (p<0.05). Other differences (p<0.05) included a 96% higher rate of offspring births for captive-born females than those imported from range countries, a 159% higher rate of birthing event exposures for captive-born males than for their imported counterparts, and Asian elephant females being 4 years younger than African females when they produced their first calf. In summarizing demographic and social life events of elephants in North American zoos, we found both qualitative and quantitative differences in the early lives of imported versus captive-born elephants that could have long-term welfare implications.

  7. Assessment of Flooring Renovations on African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) Behavior and Glucocorticoid Response

    PubMed Central

    Boyle, Sarah A.; Roberts, Beth; Pope, Brittany M.; Blake, Margaret R.; Leavelle, Stephen E.; Marshall, Jennifer J.; Smith, Andrew; Hadicke, Amanda; Falcone, Josephine F.; Knott, Katrina; Kouba, Andrew J.

    2015-01-01

    Captive African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants can experience foot pathologies and arthritis. As a preventative measure against these pathologies and to alleviate the potential discomfort due to concrete substrates, some zoological institutions have renovated elephant housing to increase the amount of natural or shock-absorbent substrates. The objective of this study was to compare behavioral (diurnal and nocturnal) and glucorticoid (e.g., serum cortisol) responses of three female African elephants before, during, and after renovation to their indoor housing floor to assess whether renovations had short-term effects on the elephants’ behavior and stress physiology. Behavioral data were collected using scan-sampling methods, and activity budgets were constructed for each of the three elephants. In addition, the duration of all lying rest activities were recorded. Weekly serum cortisol concentrations were determined with enzyme immunoassay (EIA). Overall, eating was the most prevalent behavior exhibited outdoors during the day, while resting (either in a lying or standing position) were most common during the indoor, nocturnal periods. Although variation existed among the three elephants, all three females spent significantly more time walking and less time eating during the day after the completion of the renovations. The extent to which the three elephants exhibited nocturnal lying rest behavior varied among the elephants, with the oldest elephant exhibiting the least amount (an average of 13.2 ± 2.8% of the nightly behavioral scans) compared to the two younger elephants (an average of 34.5 ± 2.1% and 56.6 ± 2.8% of the nightly behavioral scans). There was a significant increase in lying rest behavior for one elephant and standing rest for a second elephant following renovations. Baseline cortisol concentrations prior to renovations were 3.0 ± 0.4 ng/ml, 4.5 ± 0.5 ng/ml, and 4.9 ± 0.5 ng/ml for the three elephants. Cortisol

  8. African Elephant Alarm Calls Distinguish between Threats from Humans and Bees

    PubMed Central

    Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Vollrath, Fritz; Savage, Anne

    2014-01-01

    The Samburu pastoralists of Northern Kenya co-exist with African elephants, Loxodonta africana, and compete over resources such as watering holes. Audio playback experiments demonstrate that African elephants produce alarm calls in response to the voices of Samburu tribesmen. When exposed to adult male Samburu voices, listening elephants exhibited vigilance behavior, flight behavior, and produced vocalizations (rumbles, roars and trumpets). Rumble vocalizations were most common and were characterized by increased and more variable fundamental frequencies, and an upward shift in the first [F1] and second [F2] formant locations, compared to control rumbles. When exposed to a sequence of these recorded rumbles, roars and trumpets, listening elephants also exhibited vigilance and flight behavior. The same behavior was observed, in lesser degrees, both when the roars and trumpets were removed, and when the second formants were artificially lowered to levels typical of control rumbles. The “Samburu alarm rumble” is acoustically distinct from the previously described “bee alarm rumble.” The bee alarm rumbles exhibited increased F2, while Samburu alarm rumbles exhibited increased F1 and F2, compared to controls. Moreover, the behavioral reactions to the two threats were different. Elephants exhibited vigilance and flight behavior in response to Samburu and bee stimuli and to both alarm calls, but headshaking behavior only occurred in response to bee sounds and bee alarm calls. In general, increasingly threatening stimuli elicited alarm calls with increases in F0 and in formant locations, and increasing numbers of these acoustic cues in vocal stimuli elicited increased vigilance and flight behavior in listening elephants. These results show that African elephant alarm calls differentiate between two types of threat and reflect the level of urgency of threats. PMID:24586753

  9. Low coverage sequencing of two Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) genomes

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background There are three species of elephant that exist, the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) and two species of African elephant (Loxodonta africana and Loxodonta cyclotis). The populations of all three species are dwindling, and are under threat due to factors, such as habitat destruction and ivory hunting. The species differ in many respects, including in their morphology and response to disease. The availability of elephant genome sequence data from all three elephant species will complement studies of behaviour, genetic diversity, evolution and disease resistance. Findings We present low-coverage Illumina sequence data from two Asian elephants, representing approximately 5X and 2.5X coverage respectively. Both raw and aligned data are available, using the African elephant (L. africana) genome as a reference. Conclusions The data presented here are an important addition to the available genetic and genomic information on Asian and African elephants. PMID:25053995

  10. Information content and acoustic structure of male African elephant social rumbles

    PubMed Central

    Stoeger, Angela S.; Baotic, Anton

    2016-01-01

    Until recently, the prevailing theory about male African elephants (Loxodonta africana) was that, once adult and sexually mature, males are solitary and targeted only at finding estrous females. While this is true during the state of ‘musth’ (a condition characterized by aggressive behavior and elevated androgen levels), ‘non-musth’ males exhibit a social system seemingly based on companionship, dominance and established hierarchies. Research on elephant vocal communication has so far focused on females, and very little is known about the acoustic structure and the information content of male vocalizations. Using the source and filter theory approach, we analyzed social rumbles of 10 male African elephants. Our results reveal that male rumbles encode information about individuality and maturity (age and size), with formant frequencies and absolute fundamental frequency values having the most informative power. This first comprehensive study on male elephant vocalizations gives important indications on their potential functional relevance for male-male and male-female communication. Our results suggest that, similar to the highly social females, future research on male elephant vocal behavior will reveal a complex communication system in which social knowledge, companionship, hierarchy, reproductive competition and the need to communicate over long distances play key roles. PMID:27273586

  11. Recurrence of hyperprolactinemia and continuation of ovarian acyclicity in captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana) treated with cabergoline.

    PubMed

    Morfeld, Kari A; Ball, Ray L; Brown, Janine L

    2014-09-01

    Hyperprolactinemia is associated with reproductive acyclicity in zoo African elephants (Loxodonta africana) and may contribute to the non-self-sustainability of the captive population in North America. It is a common cause of infertility in women and other mammals and can be treated with the dopamine agonist cabergoline. The objectives of this study were to assess prolactin responses to cabergoline treatment in hyperprolactinemic, acyclic African elephants and to determine the subsequent impact on ovarian cyclic activity. Five elephants, diagnosed as hyperprolactinemic (>11 ng/ml prolactin) and acyclic (maintenance of baseline progestagens for at least 1 yr), were treated with 1-2 mg cabergoline orally twice weekly for 16-82 wk. Cabergoline reduced (P < 0.05) serum prolactin concentrations during the treatment period compared to pretreatment levels in four of five elephants (11.5 +/- 3.2 vs. 9.1 +/- 3.4 ng/ml; 20.3 +/- 16.7 vs. 7.9 +/- 9.8 ng/ml; 26.4 +/- 15.0 vs. 6.8 +/- 1.5 ng/ml; 42.2 +/- 22.6 vs. 18.6 +/- 8.9 ng/ml). However, none of the females resumed ovarian cyclicity based on serum progestagen analyses up to 1 yr posttreatment. In addition, within 1 to 6 wk after cessation of oral cabergoline, serum prolactin concentrations returned to concentrations that were as high as or higher than before treatment (P < 0.05). One elephant that exhibited the highest pretreatment prolactin concentration (75.2 +/- 10.5 ng/ml) did not respond to cabergoline and maintained elevated levels throughout the study. Thus, oral cabergoline administration reduced prolactin concentrations in elephants with hyperprolactinemia, but there was no resumption of ovarian cyclicity, and a significant prolactin rebound effect was observed. It is possible that higher doses or longer treatment intervals may be required for cabergoline treatment to result in permanent suppression of prolactin secretion and to mitigate associated ovarian cycle problems.

  12. Characterization of casein and alpha lactalbumin of African elephant (Loxodonta africana) milk.

    PubMed

    Madende, M; Osthoff, G; Patterton, H-G; Patterton, H E; Martin, P; Opperman, D J

    2015-12-01

    The current research reports partial characterization of the caseins and α-lactalbumin (α-LA) of the African elephant with proposed unique structure-function properties. Extensive research has been carried out to understand the structure of the casein micelles. Crystallographic structure elucidation of caseins and casein micelles is not possible. Consequently, several models have been developed in an effort to describe the casein micelle, specifically of cow milk. Here we report the characterization of African elephant milk caseins. The κ-caseins and β-caseins were investigated, and their relative ratio was found to be approximately 1:8.5, whereas α-caseins were not detected. The gene sequence of β-casein in the NCBI database was revisited, and a different sequence in the N-terminal region is proposed. Amino acid sequence alignment and hydropathy plots showed that the κ-casein of African elephant milk is similar to that of other mammals, whereas the β-casein is similar to the human protein, and displayed a section of unique AA composition and additional hydrophilic regions compared with bovine caseins. Elephant milk is destabilized by 62% alcohol, and it is speculated that the β-casein characteristics may allow maintenance of the colloidal nature of the casein micelle, a role that was previously only associated with κ-casein. The oligosaccharide content of milk was reported to be low in dairy animals but high in some other species such as humans and elephants. In the milk of the African elephant, lactose and oligosaccharides both occur at high levels. These levels are typically related to the content of α-LA in the mammary gland and thus point to a specialized carbohydrate synthesis, where the whey protein α-LA plays a role. We report the characterization of African elephant α-LA. Homology modeling of the α-LA showed that it is structurally similar to crystal structures of other mammalian species, which in turn may be an indication that its functional

  13. African elephants (Loxodonta africana) recognize visual attention from face and body orientation

    PubMed Central

    Smet, Anna F.; Byrne, Richard W.

    2014-01-01

    How do animals determine when others are able and disposed to receive their communicative signals? In particular, it is futile to make a silent gesture when the intended audience cannot see it. Some non-human primates use the head and body orientation of their audience to infer visual attentiveness when signalling, but whether species relying less on visual information use such cues when producing visual signals is unknown. Here, we test whether African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are sensitive to the visual perspective of a human experimenter. We examined whether the frequency of gestures of head and trunk, produced to request food, was influenced by indications of an experimenter's visual attention. Elephants signalled significantly more towards the experimenter when her face was oriented towards them, except when her body faced away from them. These results suggest that elephants understand the importance of visual attention for effective communication. PMID:25013015

  14. African elephants (Loxodonta africana) recognize visual attention from face and body orientation.

    PubMed

    Smet, Anna F; Byrne, Richard W

    2014-07-01

    How do animals determine when others are able and disposed to receive their communicative signals? In particular, it is futile to make a silent gesture when the intended audience cannot see it. Some non-human primates use the head and body orientation of their audience to infer visual attentiveness when signalling, but whether species relying less on visual information use such cues when producing visual signals is unknown. Here, we test whether African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are sensitive to the visual perspective of a human experimenter. We examined whether the frequency of gestures of head and trunk, produced to request food, was influenced by indications of an experimenter's visual attention. Elephants signalled significantly more towards the experimenter when her face was oriented towards them, except when her body faced away from them. These results suggest that elephants understand the importance of visual attention for effective communication.

  15. A preliminary study of the behavioral effects of feeding enrichment on African elephants.

    PubMed

    Stoinski, T.S.; Daniel, E.; Maple, T.L.

    2000-01-01

    Although commonly practiced with many species, feeding enrichment in elephants is understudied. The behavioral effects of feeding enrichment were tested in three African elephants by substituting an equal dry weight of browse for hay in an ABA design. The results showed a significant increase in feeding and significant decreases in drinking and inactivity when the browse was present. Additionally, changes in feeding, inactivity, and time spent in contact were observed outside the time the browse was actually presented, although the relationship of these changes to the experimental methodology is unknown. A significant increase in visibility to zoo visitors during the browse conditions demonstrates that browse is an effective, naturalistic method for increasing visibility as well as species-typical behaviors. Managers of captive elephants should consult with a nutritionist to address issues of energetics, nutritional content, and secondary compounds when using browse as feeding enrichment. Zoo Biol 19:485-493, 2000. Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  16. Why Do African Elephants (Loxodonta africana) Simulate Oestrus? An Analysis of Longitudinal Data

    PubMed Central

    Bates, Lucy A.; Handford, Rosie; Lee, Phyllis C.; Njiraini, Norah; Poole, Joyce H.; Sayialel, Katito; Sayialel, Soila; Moss, Cynthia J.; Byrne, Richard W.

    2010-01-01

    Female African elephants signal oestrus via chemicals in their urine, but they also exhibit characteristic changes to their posture, gait and behaviour when sexually receptive. Free-ranging females visually signal receptivity by holding their heads and tails high, walking with an exaggerated gait, and displaying increased tactile behaviour towards males. Parous females occasionally exhibit these visual signals at times when they are thought not to be cycling and without attracting interest from musth males. Using demographic and behavioural records spanning a continuous 28-year period, we investigated the occurrence of this “simulated” oestrus behaviour. We show that parous females in the Amboseli elephant population do simulate receptive oestrus behaviours, and this false oestrus occurs disproportionately in the presence of naïve female kin who are observed coming into oestrus for the first time. We compare several alternative hypotheses for the occurrence of this simulation: 1) false oestrus has no functional purpose (e.g., it merely results from abnormal hormonal changes); 2) false oestrus increases the reproductive success of the simulating female, by inducing sexual receptivity; and 3) false oestrus increases the inclusive fitness of the simulating female, either by increasing the access of related females to suitable males, or by encouraging appropriate oestrus behaviours from female relatives who are not responding correctly to males. Although the observed data do not fully conform to the predictions of any of these hypotheses, we rule out the first two, and tentatively suggest that parous females most likely exhibit false oestrus behaviours in order to demonstrate to naïve relatives at whom to direct their behaviour. PMID:20383331

  17. Demography of woody species in a semi-arid African savanna reserve following the re-introduction of elephants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    O'Connor, Timothy G.

    2017-01-01

    The hypothesis that African elephants may cause the local extirpation of selected woody species was evaluated in a medium-sized, semi-arid reserve following their reintroduction at low density. Mortality, state-change, and regeneration of 25 tree and 17 shrub species were studied between 1997 and 2010. Annual mortality of shrub species ranged from 0.2 to 8.0%, with six species experiencing 6-8%. Eight shrub species lost more than half their adult population (range 10-94%). Annual tree mortality ranged from 0.2 to 10.5%. The two dominant dryland tree species experienced <1% annual mortality, 18 species lost more than half their tree population, and one was eliminated. Elephants accounted for >63% and stress-related agents >20% of tree deaths. The manner in which elephants induced tree death depended on species. The proportion of individuals of a species killed by pollarding or uprooting ranged from 0 to 74%, and by debarking from 0 to 100%. Complete uprooting was a common cause of death for three shrub species. Regeneration ranged from zero for six tree and one shrub species to a seedling every 7 m2 for Colophospermum mopane and 23 m2 for Dichrostachys cinerea in riparian habitat. Three shrub and eight tree species were identified as vulnerable to local extirpation owing to a combination of high mortality and poor regeneration that is likely to result in a considerably simplified system. Reintroduction of elephants into medium-sized reserves without regulation of their numbers may not be a desirable action.

  18. Environmental Perturbations, Behavioral Change, and Population Response in a Long-Term Northern Elephant Seal Study

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2013-09-30

    Population Response in a Long-Term Northern Elephant Seal Study Daniel P. Costa University of California, Santa Cruz 100 Shaffer Rd. Santa Cruz, CA...grant has allowed us to extend and improve a four-decade study of northern elephant seal populations in California, aiming specifically to quantify...in a Long-Term Northern Elephant Seal Study 5a. CONTRACT NUMBER 5b. GRANT NUMBER 5c. PROGRAM ELEMENT NUMBER 6. AUTHOR(S) 5d. PROJECT NUMBER 5e

  19. [African population in history].

    PubMed

    Yang, S

    1984-11-29

    The growth rate of the African population has been fluctuating throughout history, affected by political, social, and economic events. 6000 years ago, the majority of the population was based in North Africa, because farming had been developed there. However, between the 11th and the 16th centuries, there was a constant decline in the population of that region, due to invasions from Europe and the black plague. During the same period, the population in the area south of the Sahara grew rapidly, as people there had gone into the iron tool period and farming had been developed. From the 16th to the mid-17th Century, population growth was considerable in Africa; more people had learned the technology of irrigation, corn and potatoes had been introduced from South America, and colonialism was not yet an issue. From the mid-17th to the mid-19th Century, there was no growth, due to the slave trade and wars between tribes. One estimate sets the direct and indirect loss during this period, as a result of the slave trade, at 100 million people. From the 1850s to the end of World War I, population growth started up again, chiefly influenced by the fact that the slave trade had essentially come to a half and modern medical care had become available on the continent. However, in central Africa, the region which suffered the worst blow from the slave trade, growth was very slow, while in East Africa the population was declining because of wars between colonists and natives, as well as natural disasters. Increases in population during this period were a result of immigration from Europe and India. From the end of World War I to the present, growth has been rapid, given improvements in medical services and standards of living, while most of the former colonies became independent after the 1950s. Consequently, almost all African countries are under great pressure now with regard to their populations.

  20. Paleocene emergence of elephant relatives and the rapid radiation of African ungulates.

    PubMed

    Gheerbrant, Emmanuel

    2009-06-30

    Elephants are the only living representatives of the Proboscidea, a formerly diverse mammalian order whose history began with the 55-million years (mys) old Phosphatherium. Reported here is the discovery from the early late Paleocene of Morocco, ca. 60 mys, of the oldest and most primitive elephant relative, Eritherium azzouzorum n.g., n.sp., which is one of the earliest known representatives of modern placental orders. This well supported stem proboscidean is extraordinarily primitive and condylarth-like. It provides the first dental evidence of a resemblance between the proboscideans and African ungulates (paenungulates) on the one hand and the louisinines and early macroscelideans on the other. Eritherium illustrates the origin of the elephant order at a previously unknown primitive stage among paenungulates and "ungulates." The primitive morphology of Eritherium suggests a recent and rapid paenungulate radiation after the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, probably favoured by early endemic African paleoecosystems. At a broader scale, Eritherium provides a new old calibration point of the placental tree and supports an explosive placental radiation. The Ouled Abdoun basin, which yields the oldest known African placentals, is a key locality for elucidating phylogeny and early evolution of paenungulates and other related endemic African lineages.

  1. Assigning African elephant DNA to geographic region of origin: Applications to the ivory trade

    PubMed Central

    Wasser, Samuel K.; Shedlock, Andrew M.; Comstock, Kenine; Ostrander, Elaine A.; Mutayoba, Benezeth; Stephens, Matthew

    2004-01-01

    Resurgence of illicit trade in African elephant ivory is placing the elephant at renewed risk. Regulation of this trade could be vastly improved by the ability to verify the geographic origin of tusks. We address this need by developing a combined genetic and statistical method to determine the origin of poached ivory. Our statistical approach exploits a smoothing method to estimate geographic-specific allele frequencies over the entire African elephants' range for 16 microsatellite loci, using 315 tissue and 84 scat samples from forest (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) and savannah (Loxodonta africana africana) elephants at 28 locations. These geographic-specific allele frequency estimates are used to infer the geographic origin of DNA samples, such as could be obtained from tusks of unknown origin. We demonstrate that our method alleviates several problems associated with standard assignment methods in this context, and the absolute accuracy of our method is high. Continent-wide, 50% of samples were located within 500 km, and 80% within 932 km of their actual place of origin. Accuracy varied by region (median accuracies: West Africa, 135 km; Central Savannah, 286 km; Central Forest, 411 km; South, 535 km; and East, 697 km). In some cases, allele frequencies vary considerably over small geographic regions, making much finer discriminations possible and suggesting that resolution could be further improved by collection of samples from locations not represented in our study. PMID:15459317

  2. Assigning African elephant DNA to geographic region of origin: applications to the ivory trade.

    PubMed

    Wasser, Samuel K; Shedlock, Andrew M; Comstock, Kenine; Ostrander, Elaine A; Mutayoba, Benezeth; Stephens, Matthew

    2004-10-12

    Resurgence of illicit trade in African elephant ivory is placing the elephant at renewed risk. Regulation of this trade could be vastly improved by the ability to verify the geographic origin of tusks. We address this need by developing a combined genetic and statistical method to determine the origin of poached ivory. Our statistical approach exploits a smoothing method to estimate geographic-specific allele frequencies over the entire African elephants' range for 16 microsatellite loci, using 315 tissue and 84 scat samples from forest (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) and savannah (Loxodonta africana africana) elephants at 28 locations. These geographic-specific allele frequency estimates are used to infer the geographic origin of DNA samples, such as could be obtained from tusks of unknown origin. We demonstrate that our method alleviates several problems associated with standard assignment methods in this context, and the absolute accuracy of our method is high. Continent-wide, 50% of samples were located within 500 km, and 80% within 932 km of their actual place of origin. Accuracy varied by region (median accuracies: West Africa, 135 km; Central Savannah, 286 km; Central Forest, 411 km; South, 535 km; and East, 697 km). In some cases, allele frequencies vary considerably over small geographic regions, making much finer discriminations possible and suggesting that resolution could be further improved by collection of samples from locations not represented in our study.

  3. Neocortical neuronal morphology in the newborn giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) and African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Jacobs, Bob; Lee, Laura; Schall, Matthew; Raghanti, Mary Ann; Lewandowski, Albert H; Kottwitz, Jack J; Roberts, John F; Hof, Patrick R; Sherwood, Chet C

    2016-02-01

    Although neocortical neuronal morphology has been documented in the adult giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) and African elephant (Loxodonta africana), no research has explored the cortical architecture in newborns of these species. To this end, the current study examined the morphology of neurons from several cortical areas in the newborn giraffe and elephant. After cortical neurons were stained with a modified Golgi technique (N = 153), dendritic branching and spine distributions were analyzed by using computer-assisted morphometry. The results showed that newborn elephant neurons were considerably larger in terms of all dendritic and spine measures than newborn giraffe neurons. Qualitatively, neurons in the newborns appeared morphologically comparable to those in their adult counterparts. Neurons in the newborn elephant differed considerably from those observed in other placental mammals, including the giraffe, particularly with regard to the morphology of spiny projection neurons. Projection neurons were observed in both species, with a much larger variety in the elephant (e.g., flattened pyramidal, nonpyramidal multipolar, and inverted pyramidal neurons). Although local circuit neurons (i.e., interneurons, neurogliaform, Cajal-Retzius neurons) resembled those observed in other eutherian mammals, these were usually spiny, which contrasts with their adult, aspiny equivalents. Newborn projection neurons were smaller than the adult equivalents in both species, but newborn interneurons were approximately the same size as their adult counterparts. Cortical neuromorphology in the newborn giraffe is thus generally consistent with what has been observed in other cetartiodactyls, whereas newborn and adult elephant morphology appears to deviate substantially from what is commonly observed in other placental mammals.

  4. The structure of the cushions in the feet of African elephants (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

    Weissengruber, G E; Egger, G F; Hutchinson, J R; Groenewald, H B; Elsässer, L; Famini, D; Forstenpointner, G

    2006-01-01

    The uniquely designed limbs of the African elephant, Loxodonta africana, support the weight of the largest terrestrial animal. Besides other morphological peculiarities, the feet are equipped with large subcutaneous cushions which play an important role in distributing forces during weight bearing and in storing or absorbing mechanical forces. Although the cushions have been discussed in the literature and captive elephants, in particular, are frequently affected by foot disorders, precise morphological data are sparse. The cushions in the feet of African elephants were examined by means of standard anatomical and histological techniques, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In both the forelimb and the hindlimb a 6th ray, the prepollex or prehallux, is present. These cartilaginous rods support the metacarpal or metatarsal compartment of the cushions. None of the rays touches the ground directly. The cushions consist of sheets or strands of fibrous connective tissue forming larger metacarpal/metatarsal and digital compartments and smaller chambers which were filled with adipose tissue. The compartments are situated between tarsal, metatarsal, metacarpal bones, proximal phalanges or other structures of the locomotor apparatus covering the bones palmarly/plantarly and the thick sole skin. Within the cushions, collagen, reticulin and elastic fibres are found. In the main parts, vascular supply is good and numerous nerves course within the entire cushion. Vater–Pacinian corpuscles are embedded within the collagenous tissue of the cushions and within the dermis. Meissner corpuscles are found in the dermal papillae of the foot skin. The micromorphology of elephant feet cushions resembles that of digital cushions in cattle or of the foot pads in humans but not that of digital cushions in horses. Besides their important mechanical properties, foot cushions in elephants seem to be very sensitive structures. PMID:17118065

  5. Detection of Quiescent Infections with Multiple Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesviruses (EEHVs), Including EEHV2, EEHV3, EEHV6, and EEHV7, within Lymphoid Lung Nodules or Lung and Spleen Tissue Samples from Five Asymptomatic Adult African Elephants

    PubMed Central

    Zong, Jian-Chao; Heaggans, Sarah Y.; Long, Simon Y.; Latimer, Erin M.; Nofs, Sally A.; Bronson, Ellen; Casares, Miguel; Fouraker, Michael D.; Pearson, Virginia R.; Richman, Laura K.

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT More than 80 cases of lethal hemorrhagic disease associated with elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHVs) have been identified in young Asian elephants worldwide. Diagnostic PCR tests detected six types of EEHV in blood of elephants with acute disease, although EEHV1A is the predominant pathogenic type. Previously, the presence of herpesvirus virions within benign lung and skin nodules from healthy African elephants led to suggestions that African elephants may be the source of EEHV disease in Asian elephants. Here, we used direct PCR-based DNA sequencing to detect EEHV genomes in necropsy tissue from five healthy adult African elephants. Two large lung nodules collected from culled wild South African elephants contained high levels of either EEHV3 alone or both EEHV2 and EEHV3. Similarly, a euthanized U.S. elephant proved to harbor multiple EEHV types distributed nonuniformly across four small lung nodules, including high levels of EEHV6, lower levels of EEHV3 and EEHV2, and a new GC-rich branch type, EEHV7. Several of the same EEHV types were also detected in random lung and spleen samples from two other elephants. Sanger PCR DNA sequence data comprising 100 kb were obtained from a total of 15 different strains identified, with (except for a few hypervariable genes) the EEHV2, EEHV3, and EEHV6 strains all being closely related to known genotypes from cases of acute disease, whereas the seven loci (4.0 kb) obtained from EEHV7 averaged 18% divergence from their nearest relative, EEHV3. Overall, we conclude that these four EEHV species, but probably not EEHV1, occur commonly as quiescent infections in African elephants. IMPORTANCE Acute hemorrhagic disease characterized by high-level viremia due to infection by members of the Proboscivirus genus threatens the future breeding success of endangered Asian elephants worldwide. Although the genomes of six EEHV types from acute cases have been partially or fully characterized, lethal disease predominantly

  6. Ovulation, pregnancy, placentation and husbandry in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

    Allen, W.R

    2006-01-01

    The African elephant reproduces so efficiently in the wild that overpopulation is now a serious problem in some game parks in Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa. The female reaches puberty between 10 and 12 years of age in the wild and, when in captivity, shows oestrous cycles of 14–15 weeks duration. She readily conceives a singleton in the wild yet her uterus has the capacity for twins. She shows a gestation length of 22 months and, in the wild, shows a population density and feed dependent intercalving interval of 4–8 years. The trophoblast erodes the lumenal epithelium of the endometrium and stimulates upgrowths of blood vessel-containing stromal villi, which develop eventually into the broad, tightly folded lamellae of the zonary, endotheliochorial placenta. Significant quantities of leaked maternal erythrocytes and ferric iron are phagocytosed by specialized trophoblast cells in the haemophagous zones at the lateral edges of the placental band. Although the placenta itself is endocrinologically inert, the foetal gonads, which enlarge greatly during the second half of pregnancy can synthesize 5α-dihydryoprogesterone and other 5α pregnane derivatives from cholesterol and pregnenolone. These products may synergize with progestagens secreted by the 2–8 large corpora lutea which are always present in the maternal ovaries throughout gestation to maintain the pregnancy state. PMID:16627297

  7. Molecular phylogenetics of the elephant schistosome Bivitellobilharzia loxodontae (Trematoda: Schistosomatidae) from the Central African Republic.

    PubMed

    Brant, S V; Pomajbíková, K; Modry, D; Petrželková, K J; Todd, A; Loker, E S

    2013-03-01

    One of the most poorly known of all schistosomes infecting mammals is Bivitellobilharzia loxodontae. Nearly all of our available information about this species comes from the original description of worms that were obtained from an animal park-maintained elephant in Germany, probably a forest elephant Loxodonta cyclotis, originating from the present-day Democratic Republic of Congo. We obtained schistosome eggs from faecal samples from wild forest elephants from the Central African Republic. The eggs, which were similar in size and shape to those of described B. loxodontae, were sequenced for the 28S nuclear ribosomal gene and the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (cox1) gene. In a phylogenetic analysis of 28S sequences, our specimens grouped closely with B. nairi, the schistosome from the Indian elephant Elephas maximus, to the exclusion of schistosomes from other genera. However, the eggs were genetically distinct (12% distance cox1) from those of B. nairi. We conclude the specimens we recovered were of B. loxodontae and confirm this is a distinct Bivitellobilharzia species. In addition to providing the first sequence data for B. loxodontae, this report also supports Bivitellobilharzia as a monophyletic group and gives the relative phylogenetic position of the genus within the Schistosomatidae. We also provide a review of the biology of this poorly known schistosome genus.

  8. Estimating daily walking distance of captive African elephants using an accelerometer.

    PubMed

    Rothwell, Emily S; Bercovitch, Fred B; Andrews, Jeff R M; Anderson, Matthew J

    2011-01-01

    Two central concerns for elephant husbandry and management are whether zoological enclosures are appropriately sized and the degree to which naturalistic exercise and activity are observed in such enclosures. In order to address these issues, accurate data on the daily walking distance of elephants both in situ and ex situ are necessary. We used an accelerometer, a pedometer that measures step count and activity level, to estimate walking distance in African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park. The accelerometer was worn simultaneously with a GPS unit that recorded actual walking distance. Estimates of walking distance were extrapolated from the accelerometer and compared with actual distances determined by GPS data. The accelerometer was found to overestimate step count, and subsequently walking distance, by including false counts of steps. Extrapolating walking distance based upon stride length measurements did not match actual GPS walking distance. However, activity level output from the accelerometer significantly correlated with actual GPS walking distance. In addition, we report that the rate of movement is comparable to that reported in other zoological settings. We provide a linear regression equation that can be utilized by other institutions to estimate daily walking distance of elephants in their collection who are outfitted with accelerometers.

  9. Genomic DNA sequences from mastodon and woolly mammoth reveal deep speciation of forest and savanna elephants.

    PubMed

    Rohland, Nadin; Reich, David; Mallick, Swapan; Meyer, Matthias; Green, Richard E; Georgiadis, Nicholas J; Roca, Alfred L; Hofreiter, Michael

    2010-12-21

    To elucidate the history of living and extinct elephantids, we generated 39,763 bp of aligned nuclear DNA sequence across 375 loci for African savanna elephant, African forest elephant, Asian elephant, the extinct American mastodon, and the woolly mammoth. Our data establish that the Asian elephant is the closest living relative of the extinct mammoth in the nuclear genome, extending previous findings from mitochondrial DNA analyses. We also find that savanna and forest elephants, which some have argued are the same species, are as or more divergent in the nuclear genome as mammoths and Asian elephants, which are considered to be distinct genera, thus resolving a long-standing debate about the appropriate taxonomic classification of the African elephants. Finally, we document a much larger effective population size in forest elephants compared with the other elephantid taxa, likely reflecting species differences in ancient geographic structure and range and differences in life history traits such as variance in male reproductive success.

  10. Evidence of Positive Selection in Mitochondrial Complexes I and V of the African Elephant

    PubMed Central

    Finch, Tabitha M.; Zhao, Nan; Korkin, Dmitry; Frederick, Katy H.; Eggert, Lori S.

    2014-01-01

    As species evolve, they become adapted to their local environments. Detecting the genetic signature of selection and connecting that to the phenotype of the organism, however, is challenging. Here we report using an integrative approach that combines DNA sequencing with structural biology analyses to assess the effect of selection on residues in the mitochondrial DNA of the two species of African elephants. We detected evidence of positive selection acting on residues in complexes I and V, and we used homology protein structure modeling to assess the effect of the biochemical properties of the selected residues on the enzyme structure. Given the role these enzymes play in oxidative phosphorylation, we propose that the selected residues may contribute to the metabolic adaptation of forest and savanna elephants to their unique habitats. PMID:24695069

  11. Evidence of positive selection in mitochondrial complexes I and V of the African elephant.

    PubMed

    Finch, Tabitha M; Zhao, Nan; Korkin, Dmitry; Frederick, Katy H; Eggert, Lori S

    2014-01-01

    As species evolve, they become adapted to their local environments. Detecting the genetic signature of selection and connecting that to the phenotype of the organism, however, is challenging. Here we report using an integrative approach that combines DNA sequencing with structural biology analyses to assess the effect of selection on residues in the mitochondrial DNA of the two species of African elephants. We detected evidence of positive selection acting on residues in complexes I and V, and we used homology protein structure modeling to assess the effect of the biochemical properties of the selected residues on the enzyme structure. Given the role these enzymes play in oxidative phosphorylation, we propose that the selected residues may contribute to the metabolic adaptation of forest and savanna elephants to their unique habitats.

  12. Usual Populations, Unusual Individuals: Insights into the Behavior and Management of Asian Elephants in Fragmented Landscapes

    PubMed Central

    Srinivasaiah, Nishant M.; Vaidyanathan, Srinivas; Sinha, Anindya

    2012-01-01

    Background A dearth in understanding the behavior of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) at the scale of populations and individuals has left important management issues, particularly related to human-elephant conflict (HEC), unresolved. Evaluation of differences in behavior and decision-making among individual elephants across groups in response to changing local ecological settings is essential to fill this gap in knowledge and to improve our approaches towards the management and conservation of elephants. Methodology/Principal Findings We hypothesized certain behavioral decisions that would be made by Asian elephants as reflected in their residence time and movement rates, time-activity budgets, social interactions and group dynamics in response to resource availability and human disturbance in their habitat. This study is based on 200 h of behavioral observations on 60 individually identified elephants and a 184-km2 grid-based survey of their natural and anthropogenic habitats within and outside the Bannerghatta National Park, southern India during the dry season. At a general population level, the behavioral decisions appeared to be guided by the gender, age and group-type of the elephants. At the individual level, the observed variation could be explained only by the idiosyncratic behaviors of individuals and that of their associating conspecific individuals. Recursive partitioning classification trees for residence time of individual elephants indicated that the primary decisions were taken by individuals, independently of their above-mentioned biological and ecological attributes. Conclusions/Significance Decision-making by Asian elephants thus appears to be determined at two levels, that of the population and, more importantly, the individual. Models based on decision-making by individual elephants have the potential to predict conflict in fragmented landscapes that, in turn, could aid in mitigating HEC. Thus, we must target individuals, in addition to

  13. The consequences of poaching and anthropogenic change for forest elephants.

    PubMed

    Breuer, Thomas; Maisels, Fiona; Fishlock, Vicki

    2016-10-01

    Poaching has devastated forest elephant populations (Loxodonta cyclotis), and their habitat is dramatically changing. The long-term effects of poaching and other anthropogenic threats have been well studied in savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana), but the impacts of these changes for Central Africa's forest elephants have not been discussed. We examined potential repercussions of these threats and the related consequences for forest elephants in Central Africa by summarizing the lessons learned from savannah elephants and small forest elephant populations in West Africa. Forest elephant social organization is less known than the social organization of savannah elephants, but the close evolutionary history of these species suggests that they will respond to anthropogenic threats in broadly similar ways. The loss of older, experienced individuals in an elephant population disrupts ecological, social, and population parameters. Severe reduction of elephant abundance within Central Africa's forests can alter plant communities and ecosystem functions. Poaching, habitat alterations, and human population increase are probably compressing forest elephants into protected areas and increasing human-elephant conflict, which negatively affects their conservation. We encourage conservationists to look beyond documenting forest elephant population decline and address the causes of these declines when developing conversation strategies. We suggest assessing the effectiveness of the existing protected-area networks for landscape connectivity in light of current industrial and infrastructure development. Longitudinal assessments of the effects of landscape changes on forest elephant sociality and behavior are also needed. Finally, lessons learned from West African elephant population loss and habitat fragmentation should be used to inform strategies for land-use planning and managing human-elephant interactions.

  14. Qualitative comparison of the cranio-dental osteology of the extant elephants, Elephas Maximus (Asian elephant) and Loxodonta africana (African elephant).

    PubMed

    Todd, Nancy E

    2010-01-01

    Few osteological descriptions of the extant elephants and no detailed morphological comparison of the two genera, Elephas and Loxodonta, have been done in recent years. In this study, 786 specimens of extant elephants (crania, mandibles, and molars) were examined for characters unique to each species. Differences between sexes in each species were described, as well as differences between subspecies of each species. Striking differences in morphology were noted between sexes of both elephants and between subspecies, which may complement current genetic studies, the focus of which is to determine division at the subspecies or species level, particularly differences between the savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana africana) and the forest elephant (Loxodonta africana cyclotis). In addition, examination of the two living elephants provides an excellent dataset for identifying phylogenetic characters for use in examining evolutionary relationships within and between fossil lineages of elephantids.

  15. Fine-scale genetic structure and cryptic associations reveal evidence of kin-based sociality in the African forest elephant.

    PubMed

    Schuttler, Stephanie G; Philbrick, Jessica A; Jeffery, Kathryn J; Eggert, Lori S

    2014-01-01

    Spatial patterns of relatedness within animal populations are important in the evolution of mating and social systems, and have the potential to reveal information on species that are difficult to observe in the wild. This study examines the fine-scale genetic structure and connectivity of groups within African forest elephants, Loxodonta cyclotis, which are often difficult to observe due to forest habitat. We tested the hypothesis that genetic similarity will decline with increasing geographic distance, as we expect kin to be in closer proximity, using spatial autocorrelation analyses and Tau K(r) tests. Associations between individuals were investigated through a non-invasive genetic capture-recapture approach using network models, and were predicted to be more extensive than the small groups found in observational studies, similar to fission-fusion sociality found in African savanna (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) species. Dung samples were collected in Lopé National Park, Gabon in 2008 and 2010 and genotyped at 10 microsatellite loci, genetically sexed, and sequenced at the mitochondrial DNA control region. We conducted analyses on samples collected at three different temporal scales: a day, within six-day sampling sessions, and within each year. Spatial autocorrelation and Tau K(r) tests revealed genetic structure, but results were weak and inconsistent between sampling sessions. Positive spatial autocorrelation was found in distance classes of 0-5 km, and was strongest for the single day session. Despite weak genetic structure, individuals within groups were significantly more related to each other than to individuals between groups. Social networks revealed some components to have large, extensive groups of up to 22 individuals, and most groups were composed of individuals of the same matriline. Although fine-scale population genetic structure was weak, forest elephants are typically found in groups consisting of kin and based on matrilines

  16. A preliminary analysis of the immunoglobulin genes in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Guo, Yongchen; Bao, Yonghua; Wang, Hui; Hu, Xiaoxiang; Zhao, Zhihui; Li, Ning; Zhao, Yaofeng

    2011-02-25

    The genomic organization of the IgH (Immunoglobulin heavy chain), Igκ (Immunoglobulin kappa chain), and Igλ (Immunoglobulin lambda chain) loci in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) was annotated using available genome data. The elephant IgH locus on scaffold 57 spans over 2,974 kb, and consists of at least 112 V(H) gene segments, 87 D(H) gene segments (the largest number in mammals examined so far), six J(H) gene segments, a single μ, a δ remnant, and eight γ genes (α and ε genes are missing, most likely due to sequence gaps). The Igκ locus, found on three scaffolds (202, 50 and 86), contains a total of 153 V(κ) gene segments, three J(κ) segments, and a single C(κ) gene. Two different transcriptional orientations were determined for these V(κ) gene segments. In contrast, the Igλ locus on scaffold 68 includes 15 V(λ) gene segments, all with the same transcriptional polarity as the downstream J(λ)-C(λ) cluster. These data suggest that the elephant immunoglobulin gene repertoire is highly diverse and complex. Our results provide insights into the immunoglobulin genes in a placental mammal that is evolutionarily distant from humans, mice, and domestic animals.

  17. Environmental conditions associated with repetitive behavior in a group of African elephants.

    PubMed

    Hasenjager, Matthew J; Bergl, Richard A

    2015-01-01

    Repetitive movement patterns are commonly observed in zoo elephants. The extent to which these behaviors constitute a welfare concern varies, as their expression ranges from stereotypies to potentially beneficial anticipatory behaviors. Nevertheless, their occurrence in zoo animals is often viewed negatively. To better identify conditions that prompt their performance, observations were conducted on six African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at the North Carolina Zoo. Individuals spent most of their time engaged in feeding, locomotion, resting, and repetitive behavior. Both generalized estimating equation and zero-inflated negative binomial models were used to identify factors associated with increased rates of repetitive behavior. Time of day in conjunction with location on- or off-exhibit best explained patterns of repetitive behavior. Repetitive behaviors occurred at a lower rate in the morning when on-exhibit, as compared to afternoons on-exhibit or at any time of day off-exhibit. Increased repetitive behavior rates observed on-exhibit in the afternoon prior to the evening transfer and feeding were possibly anticipatory responses towards those events. In contrast, consistently elevated frequencies of repetitive behavior off-exhibit at all times of day could be related to differences in exhibit complexity between off-exhibit and on-exhibit areas, as well as a lack of additional foraging opportunities. Our study contributes valuable information on captive elephant behavior and represents a good example of how behavioral research can be employed to improve management of zoo animals.

  18. A Preliminary Analysis of the Immunoglobulin Genes in the African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

    Guo, Yongchen; Bao, Yonghua; Wang, Hui; Hu, Xiaoxiang; Zhao, Zhihui; Li, Ning; Zhao, Yaofeng

    2011-01-01

    The genomic organization of the IgH (Immunoglobulin heavy chain), Igκ (Immunoglobulin kappa chain), and Igλ (Immunoglobulin lambda chain) loci in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) was annotated using available genome data. The elephant IgH locus on scaffold 57 spans over 2,974 kb, and consists of at least 112 VH gene segments, 87 DH gene segments (the largest number in mammals examined so far), six JH gene segments, a single μ, a δ remnant, and eight γ genes (α and ε genes are missing, most likely due to sequence gaps). The Igκ locus, found on three scaffolds (202, 50 and 86), contains a total of 153 Vκ gene segments, three Jκ segments, and a single Cκ gene. Two different transcriptional orientations were determined for these Vκ gene segments. In contrast, the Igλ locus on scaffold 68 includes 15 Vλ gene segments, all with the same transcriptional polarity as the downstream Jλ-Cλ cluster. These data suggest that the elephant immunoglobulin gene repertoire is highly diverse and complex. Our results provide insights into the immunoglobulin genes in a placental mammal that is evolutionarily distant from humans, mice, and domestic animals. PMID:21364892

  19. Geographic variations in the composition of ivory of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Raubenheimer, E J; Brown, J M; Rama, D B; Dreyer, M J; Smith, P D; Dauth, J

    1998-08-01

    Tracing the source of origin of illegal ivory will contribute to the identification of poorly managed game parks and facilitate steps taken to prevent the African elephant from becoming extinct. This study was aimed at establishing a database on the composition of ivory obtained from elephant sanctuary areas in Southern Africa. Fragments of elephant ivory from seven geographically distinct areas in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana were analysed for inorganic and organic content. A total of 20 elements was detected in the inorganic fraction of ivory, some in concentrations as low as 0.25 microg/g. The concentrations of calcium, phosphate, magnesium, fluoride, cobalt and zinc showed statistically significant differences (p < 0.007) between ivory obtained from different regions. Analyses of the organic fraction identified 17 amino acids. Ivory from arid regions showed significantly lower proline plus hydroxyproline content and under-hydroxylation of lysine residues. This study indicates that chemical analyses of ivory could be beneficial in tracing the source of illegal ivory.

  20. Measuring positive and negative affect in the voiced sounds of African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Soltis, Joseph; Blowers, Tracy E; Savage, Anne

    2011-02-01

    As in other mammals, there is evidence that the African elephant voice reflects affect intensity, but it is less clear if positive and negative affective states are differentially reflected in the voice. An acoustic comparison was made between African elephant "rumble" vocalizations produced in negative social contexts (dominance interactions), neutral social contexts (minimal social activity), and positive social contexts (affiliative interactions) by four adult females housed at Disney's Animal Kingdom®. Rumbles produced in the negative social context exhibited higher and more variable fundamental frequencies (F(0)) and amplitudes, longer durations, increased voice roughness, and higher first formant locations (F1), compared to the neutral social context. Rumbles produced in the positive social context exhibited similar shifts in most variables (F(0 )variation, amplitude, amplitude variation, duration, and F1), but the magnitude of response was generally less than that observed in the negative context. Voice roughness and F(0) observed in the positive social context remained similar to that observed in the neutral context. These results are most consistent with the vocal expression of affect intensity, in which the negative social context elicited higher intensity levels than the positive context, but differential vocal expression of positive and negative affect cannot be ruled out.

  1. Where sociality and relatedness diverge: the genetic basis for hierarchical social organization in African elephants.

    PubMed

    Wittemyer, George; Okello, John B A; Rasmussen, Henrik B; Arctander, Peter; Nyakaana, Silvester; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Siegismund, Hans R

    2009-10-07

    Hierarchical properties characterize elephant fission-fusion social organization whereby stable groups of individuals coalesce into higher order groups or split in a predictable manner. This hierarchical complexity is rare among animals and, as such, an examination of the factors driving its emergence offers unique insight into the evolution of social behaviour. Investigation of the genetic basis for such social affiliation demonstrates that while the majority of core social groups (second-tier affiliates) are significantly related, this is not exclusively the case. As such, direct benefits received through membership of these groups appear to be salient to their formation and maintenance. Further analysis revealed that the majority of groups in the two higher social echelons (third and fourth tiers) are typically not significantly related. The majority of third-tier members are matrilocal, carrying the same mtDNA control region haplotype, while matrilocality among fourth-tier groups was slightly less than expected at random. Comparison of results to those from a less disturbed population suggests that human depredation, leading to social disruption, altered the genetic underpinning of social relations in the study population. These results suggest that inclusive fitness benefits may crystallize elephant hierarchical social structuring along genetic lines when populations are undisturbed. However, indirect benefits are not critical to the formation and maintenance of second-, third- or fourth-tier level bonds, indicating the importance of direct benefits in the emergence of complex, hierarchical social relations among elephants. Future directions and conservation implications are discussed.

  2. Where sociality and relatedness diverge: the genetic basis for hierarchical social organization in African elephants

    PubMed Central

    Wittemyer, George; Okello, John B. A.; Rasmussen, Henrik B.; Arctander, Peter; Nyakaana, Silvester; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Siegismund, Hans R.

    2009-01-01

    Hierarchical properties characterize elephant fission–fusion social organization whereby stable groups of individuals coalesce into higher order groups or split in a predictable manner. This hierarchical complexity is rare among animals and, as such, an examination of the factors driving its emergence offers unique insight into the evolution of social behaviour. Investigation of the genetic basis for such social affiliation demonstrates that while the majority of core social groups (second-tier affiliates) are significantly related, this is not exclusively the case. As such, direct benefits received through membership of these groups appear to be salient to their formation and maintenance. Further analysis revealed that the majority of groups in the two higher social echelons (third and fourth tiers) are typically not significantly related. The majority of third-tier members are matrilocal, carrying the same mtDNA control region haplotype, while matrilocality among fourth-tier groups was slightly less than expected at random. Comparison of results to those from a less disturbed population suggests that human depredation, leading to social disruption, altered the genetic underpinning of social relations in the study population. These results suggest that inclusive fitness benefits may crystallize elephant hierarchical social structuring along genetic lines when populations are undisturbed. However, indirect benefits are not critical to the formation and maintenance of second-, third- or fourth-tier level bonds, indicating the importance of direct benefits in the emergence of complex, hierarchical social relations among elephants. Future directions and conservation implications are discussed. PMID:19605399

  3. A Comparison of Walking Rates Between Wild and Zoo African Elephants.

    PubMed

    Miller, Lance J; Chase, Michael J; Hacker, Charlotte E

    2016-01-01

    With increased scrutiny surrounding the welfare of elephants in zoological institutions, it is important to have empirical evidence on their current welfare status. If elephants are not receiving adequate exercise, it could lead to obesity, which can lead to many issues including acyclicity and potentially heart disease. The goal of the current study was to compare the walking rates of elephants in the wild versus elephants in zoos to determine if elephants are walking similar distances relative to their wild counterparts. Eleven wild elephants throughout different habitats and locations in Botswana were compared to 8 elephants at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Direct comparisons revealed no significant difference in average walking rates of zoo elephants when compared with wild elephants. These results suggest that elephants at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park walk similar rates to those of wild elephants and may be meeting their exercise needs.

  4. Forest elephant crisis in the Congo Basin.

    PubMed

    Blake, Stephen; Strindberg, Samantha; Boudjan, Patrick; Makombo, Calixte; Bila-Isia, Inogwabini; Ilambu, Omari; Grossmann, Falk; Bene-Bene, Lambert; de Semboli, Bruno; Mbenzo, Valentin; S'hwa, Dino; Bayogo, Rosine; Williamson, Liz; Fay, Mike; Hart, John; Maisels, Fiona

    2007-04-01

    Debate over repealing the ivory trade ban dominates conferences of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Resolving this controversy requires accurate estimates of elephant population trends and rates of illegal killing. Most African savannah elephant populations are well known; however, the status of forest elephants, perhaps a distinct species, in the vast Congo Basin is unclear. We assessed population status and incidence of poaching from line-transect and reconnaissance surveys conducted on foot in sites throughout the Congo Basin. Results indicate that the abundance and range of forest elephants are threatened from poaching that is most intense close to roads. The probability of elephant presence increased with distance to roads, whereas that of human signs declined. At all distances from roads, the probability of elephant occurrence was always higher inside, compared to outside, protected areas, whereas that of humans was always lower. Inside protected areas, forest elephant density was correlated with the size of remote forest core, but not with size of protected area. Forest elephants must be prioritised in elephant management planning at the continental scale.

  5. Dietary management, husbandry, and body weights of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) during successful pregnancies at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

    PubMed

    Sullivan, Kathleen; Kerr, Katherine; Wanty, Rachel; Amaral, Bryan; Olea-Popelka, Francisco; Valdes, Eduardo

    2016-11-01

    Successful pregnancy in African elephants is influenced by biological and environmental factors. For managed elephants many of these factors are set directly or indirectly by their human care takers, including nutrition and husbandry. While African elephants often struggle to conceive and produce healthy offspring under human care, Disney's Animal Kingdom (DAK) has effectively managed six gestations to fruition in three cows. Despite differences between mothers in terms of BW and growth curves during gravidity, each pregnancy successfully resulted in the birth of a healthy calf. Body weight (BW) gain during pregnancy ranged from 245 to 558 kg. Obesity in elephants is associated with increased occurrence of dystocia and mortality of the fetus and mother, hence understanding normal weight gains is an integral concept. Diet (dry matter basis) included high levels of fiber throughout pregnancies (60-70% neutral detergent fiber), vitamin E supplementation (116-214 mg/kg diet of alpha-tocopherol), as well as low levels of starch (2.5-5.1%) and crude fat (1.9-2.4%). Caretaker directed exercise during pregnancy at DAK served to prevent ventral edema, and increase muscle tone to prepare cows for parturition. Demonstrating techniques for effective care of pregnant females, as well as normal growth curves and fluctuations under ex situ conditions are necessary for future positive outcomes. Ensuring reproductive success through proper husbandry and nutrition are a key to long-term conservation of elephants. Zoo Biol. 35:574-578, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  6. Circadian rhythm of salivary cortisol secretion in female zoo-kept African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Casares, Miguel; Silván, Gema; Carbonell, Maria Dolores; Gerique, Cati; Martinez-Fernandez, Leticia; Cáceres, Sara; Illera, Juan Carlos

    2016-01-01

    Salivary samples were collected over a 24-hr period from one group of six juvenile (7-12 years) and one group of three adult (24-25 years) African elephant females, Loxodonta africana, and the cortisol concentration was measured in unextracted samples by EIA. Samples were collected during May, June, and November 2012 (n = 147) using cotton swabs at 4-hr intervals from 20:00 to 20:00 of the next day (seven samples per animal in each trial). The animals are kept under standard zoo management: the herd is maintained in their indoor enclosures until 10:00 and then released into the outdoor enclosures until 21:00-21:30 (May/June) and 18:30-19:00 (November). No adult elephant bull was present at the zoo during this time. The results demonstrate a clear diurnal pattern of cortisol secretion with the lowest concentration observed at 20:00 (2.03 ± 0.08 ng/ml saliva) and the peak concentrations at 08:00 (5.26 ± 0.35 ng/ml saliva). Although the cortisol values were higher in the adult cows compared to the juvenile cows in the May-June period, the differences were not significant. However, the values obtained in November from the juvenile group were significantly higher (P < 0.05) than the concentrations measured in this group in June. In conclusion, salivary cortisol in zoo elephants follows a circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) adapted to daily zoo husbandry routines.

  7. Structure and innervation of the tusk pulp in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

    Weissengruber, GE; Egerbacher, M; Forstenpointner, G

    2005-01-01

    African elephants (Loxodonta africana) use their tusks for digging, carrying and behavioural display. Their healing ability following traumatic injury is enormous. Pain experience caused by dentin or pulp damage of tusks seems to be negligible in elephants. In this study we examined the pulp tissue and the nerve distribution using histology, electron microscopy and immunhistochemistry. The results demonstrate that the pulp comprises two differently structured regions. Randomly orientated collagen fibres characterize a cone-like part lying rostral to the foramen apicis dentis. Numerous nerve fibres and Ruffini endings are found within this cone. Rostral to the cone, delicate collagen fibres and large vessels are orientated longitudinally. The rostral two-thirds of the pulp are highly vascularized, whereas nerve fibres are sparse. Vessel and nerve fibre distribution and the structure of connective tissue possibly play important roles in healing and in the obviously limited pain experience after tusk injuries and pulp alteration. The presence of Ruffini endings is most likely related to the use of tusks as tools. PMID:15817106

  8. GPS assessment of the use of exhibit space and resources by African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Leighty, Katherine A; Soltis, Joseph; Savage, Anne

    2010-01-01

    In public discussions of animal rights and welfare, we as members and proponents of zoological institutions often face significant challenges addressing the concerns of our detractors due to an unfortunate deficiency in systematically collected and published data on the animals in our collections. In the case of elephants, there has been a paucity of information describing their use of space within captive environments. Here, using collar-mounted GPS recording devices, we documented the use of exhibit space and resources by a herd of five adult female African elephants (Loxodonta africana) housed at Disney's Animal Kingdom((R)). We found that dominant animals within the herd used a greater percentage of the available space and subordinate females avoided narrow or enclosed regions of the enclosure that we termed "restricted flow areas." In their use of other resources, dominant females demonstrated increased occupation of the watering hole over subordinate females, but all females demonstrated relatively equivalent use of the mud wallow. Overall, our results provide preliminary evidence that position within the dominancy hierarchy impacts the percentage of space occupied in a captive setting and may contribute to resource accessibility. These findings can be applied to future decisions on exhibit design and resource distribution for this species.

  9. Acute death associated with Citrobacter freundii infection in an African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Ortega, Joaquín; Corpa, Juan M; Orden, José A; Blanco, Jorge; Carbonell, María D; Gerique, Amalia C; Latimer, Erin; Hayward, Gary S; Roemmelt, Andreas; Kraemer, Thomas; Romey, Aurore; Kassimi, Labib B; Casares, Miguel

    2015-09-01

    A 21-year-old male African elephant (Loxodonta africana) died suddenly with no previous medical history. Grossly, there were severe multifocal epicardial and endocardial hemorrhages of the atria and ventricles, hydropericardium, multifocal pleural hemorrhages, and severe pulmonary congestion and edema. Histologically, there was fibrinoid vasculitis and thrombosis in the heart and lung and myocardial necrosis. Citrobacter freundii was isolated in abundance in pure culture from liver and heart samples. Low levels of multiples types of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV-6, EEHV-2B, and EEHV-3A) were detected in spleen samples, but not in heart samples. The levels of EEHV DNA found were much lower than those usually associated with acute EEHV hemorrhagic disease, and many other genomic loci that would normally be found in such cases were evidently below the level of detection. Therefore, these findings are unlikely to indicate lethal EEHV disease. Polymerase chain reaction for encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) and toxicology for oleander (Nerium oleander) were negative. Stress, resulting from recent transport, and antimicrobial therapy may have contributed to the death of this animal.

  10. Housing and Demographic Risk Factors Impacting Foot and Musculoskeletal Health in African Elephants [Loxodonta africana] and Asian Elephants [Elephas maximus] in North American Zoos.

    PubMed

    Miller, Michele A; Hogan, Jennifer N; Meehan, Cheryl L

    2016-01-01

    For more than three decades, foot and musculoskeletal conditions have been documented among both Asian [Elephas maximus] and African [Loxodonta africana] elephants in zoos. Although environmental factors have been hypothesized to play a contributing role in the development of foot and musculoskeletal pathology, there is a paucity of evidence-based research assessing risk. We investigated the associations between foot and musculoskeletal health conditions with demographic characteristics, space, flooring, exercise, enrichment, and body condition for elephants housed in North American zoos during 2012. Clinical examinations and medical records were used to assess health indicators and provide scores to quantitate conditions. Using multivariable regression models, associations were found between foot health and age [P value = 0.076; Odds Ratio = 1.018], time spent on hard substrates [P value = 0.022; Odds Ratio = 1.014], space experienced during the night [P value = 0.041; Odds Ratio = 1.008], and percent of time spent in indoor/outdoor exhibits during the day [P value < 0.001; Odds Ratio = 1.003]. Similarly, the main risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders included time on hard substrate [P value = 0.002; Odds Ratio = 1.050] and space experienced in indoor/outdoor exhibits [P value = 0.039; Odds Ratio = 1.037]. These results suggest that facility and management changes that decrease time spent on hard substrates will improve elephant welfare through better foot and musculoskeletal health.

  11. Housing and Demographic Risk Factors Impacting Foot and Musculoskeletal Health in African Elephants [Loxodonta africana] and Asian Elephants [Elephas maximus] in North American Zoos

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Michele A.; Hogan, Jennifer N.; Meehan, Cheryl L.

    2016-01-01

    For more than three decades, foot and musculoskeletal conditions have been documented among both Asian [Elephas maximus] and African [Loxodonta africana] elephants in zoos. Although environmental factors have been hypothesized to play a contributing role in the development of foot and musculoskeletal pathology, there is a paucity of evidence-based research assessing risk. We investigated the associations between foot and musculoskeletal health conditions with demographic characteristics, space, flooring, exercise, enrichment, and body condition for elephants housed in North American zoos during 2012. Clinical examinations and medical records were used to assess health indicators and provide scores to quantitate conditions. Using multivariable regression models, associations were found between foot health and age [P value = 0.076; Odds Ratio = 1.018], time spent on hard substrates [P value = 0.022; Odds Ratio = 1.014], space experienced during the night [P value = 0.041; Odds Ratio = 1.008], and percent of time spent in indoor/outdoor exhibits during the day [P value < 0.001; Odds Ratio = 1.003]. Similarly, the main risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders included time on hard substrate [P value = 0.002; Odds Ratio = 1.050] and space experienced in indoor/outdoor exhibits [P value = 0.039; Odds Ratio = 1.037]. These results suggest that facility and management changes that decrease time spent on hard substrates will improve elephant welfare through better foot and musculoskeletal health. PMID:27415763

  12. Housing and Social Environments of African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) Elephants in North American Zoos

    PubMed Central

    Meehan, Cheryl L.; Hogan, Jennifer N.; Bonaparte-Saller, Mary K.; Mench, Joy A.

    2016-01-01

    We evaluated 255 African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants living in 68 North American zoos over one year to quantify housing and social variables. All parameters were quantified for the both the day and the night and comparisons were made across these time periods as well as by species and sex. To assess housing, we evaluated not only total exhibit size, but also individual animals’ experiences based on the time they spent in the unique environments into which the exhibits were subdivided. Variables developed to assess housing included measurements of area as a function of time (Total Space Experience), environment type (Indoor, Outdoor, In/Out Choice) and time spent on hard and soft flooring. Over the year, Total Space Experience values ranged from 1,273 square feet to 169,692 square feet, with Day values significantly greater than Night values (p<0.001). Elephants spent an average of 55.1% of their time outdoors, 28.9% indoors, and 16% in areas with a choice between being in or out. Time spent on hard flooring substrate ranged from 0% to 66.7%, with Night values significantly greater than Day (p<0.001). Social factors included number of animals functionally housed together (Social Experience) and social group characteristics such as time spent with juveniles and in mixed-sex groups. Overall Social Experience scores ranged from 1 to 11.2 and were significantly greater during the Day than at Night (p<0.001). There were few significant social or housing differences between African (N = 138) and Asian (N = 117) species or between males (N = 54) and females (N = 201). The most notable exception was Total Space Experience, with African and male elephants having larger Total Space Experience than Asian and female elephants, respectively (P-value<0.05). The housing and social variables evaluated herein have been used in a series of subsequent epidemiological analyses relating to various elephant welfare outcomes. PMID:27414034

  13. Housing and Social Environments of African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) Elephants in North American Zoos.

    PubMed

    Meehan, Cheryl L; Hogan, Jennifer N; Bonaparte-Saller, Mary K; Mench, Joy A

    2016-01-01

    We evaluated 255 African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants living in 68 North American zoos over one year to quantify housing and social variables. All parameters were quantified for the both the day and the night and comparisons were made across these time periods as well as by species and sex. To assess housing, we evaluated not only total exhibit size, but also individual animals' experiences based on the time they spent in the unique environments into which the exhibits were subdivided. Variables developed to assess housing included measurements of area as a function of time (Total Space Experience), environment type (Indoor, Outdoor, In/Out Choice) and time spent on hard and soft flooring. Over the year, Total Space Experience values ranged from 1,273 square feet to 169,692 square feet, with Day values significantly greater than Night values (p<0.001). Elephants spent an average of 55.1% of their time outdoors, 28.9% indoors, and 16% in areas with a choice between being in or out. Time spent on hard flooring substrate ranged from 0% to 66.7%, with Night values significantly greater than Day (p<0.001). Social factors included number of animals functionally housed together (Social Experience) and social group characteristics such as time spent with juveniles and in mixed-sex groups. Overall Social Experience scores ranged from 1 to 11.2 and were significantly greater during the Day than at Night (p<0.001). There were few significant social or housing differences between African (N = 138) and Asian (N = 117) species or between males (N = 54) and females (N = 201). The most notable exception was Total Space Experience, with African and male elephants having larger Total Space Experience than Asian and female elephants, respectively (P-value<0.05). The housing and social variables evaluated herein have been used in a series of subsequent epidemiological analyses relating to various elephant welfare outcomes.

  14. A Bioenergetics Approach to Understanding the Population Consequences of Disturbance: Elephant Seals as a Model System.

    PubMed

    Costa, Daniel P; Schwarz, Lisa; Robinson, Patrick; Schick, Robert S; Morris, Patricia A; Condit, Richard; Crocker, Daniel E; Kilpatrick, A Marm

    2016-01-01

    Using long-term empirical data, we developed a complete population consequences of acoustic disturbance (PCAD) model and application for northern elephant seals. We assumed that the animals would not successfully forage while in a 100-km-diameter disturbance region within their foraging and transit paths. The decrease in lipid gain due to exposure was then translated to changes in birth rate and pup survival. Given their large foraging range, elephant seals were resilient to such a disturbance, showing no population-level effects. However, similar track analysis showed that given their more coastal nature, California sea lions were within a 25-km-diameter region of disturbance more often.

  15. Retrospective genetic characterisation of Encephalomyocarditis viruses from African elephant and swine recovers two distinct lineages in South Africa.

    PubMed

    van Sandwyk, James H D T; Bennett, Nigel C; Swanepoel, Robert; Bastos, Armanda D S

    2013-02-22

    Encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) outbreaks are rare in southern Africa. Only two have been reported to date from South Africa, both coinciding with rodent irruptions. The first outbreak manifested as acute myocarditis in pigs in 1979, whilst the second, occurring from 1993 to 1994, was linked to the deaths of 64 free-ranging adult African elephants (Loxodonta africana). The P1 genome region, inclusive of the flanking leader (L) and 2A genes, of three South African isolates, one from swine and two from elephants, was characterised by PCR amplification and sequencing of up to 11 overlapping fragments. In addition to the resulting 3329 nucleotide dataset, the 3D region that is widely used in molecular epidemiology studies, was characterised, and three datasets (P1, VP1/3 and 3D), complemented with available homologous EMCV data, were compiled for analyses. Phylogenetic inferences revealed the near-identical elephant outbreak strains to be most closely related to a mengovirus from rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) in Uganda, differing from the latter by between 11% (3D) and 15% (VP3/1). The South African pig isolate differed by 4% (3D) and 11% (VP3/1) from available European and Asian pig virus sequences. This study confirms the presence of two genetically distinct EMCV lineages recovered from sporadic outbreaks in wild and domestic hosts in southern Africa, and provides valuable baseline data for future outbreak eventualities in the sub-region.

  16. THE IMPACT OF ELEPHANT ENDOTHELIOTROPIC HERPESVIRUS ON THE CAPTIVE ASIAN ELEPHANT (ELEPHAS MAXIMUS) POPULATION OF THE UNITED KINGDOM AND IRELAND (1995-2013).

    PubMed

    Kendall, Rebecca; Howard, Lauren; Masters, Nic; Grant, Robyn

    2016-06-01

    Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) is one of the most devastating infections and causes of mortality in captive Asian elephant ( Elephas maximus ) populations. Eight confirmed fatal EEHV cases have occurred since 1995 within the captive Asian elephant population of the United Kingdom and Ireland. This report aims to review the impact of EEHV on the captive Asian elephant population in the United Kingdom and Ireland, document and compare fatal cases, and recommend a framework of monitoring within the United Kingdom and Ireland to increase the success of treatment of EEHV hemorrhagic disease (EEHV HD) in the future. Six zoologic institutions (which include zoos, safari parks, and wildlife parks) that currently house or have previously housed a captive Asian elephant group were included in this report. Medical records and postmortem results were collected from four of these institutions for each confirmed fatal case. EEHV HD was found to be responsible for 29.6% of fatalities in Asian elephants born in captivity in the United Kingdom and Ireland between 1995 and 2013. Following a review of all the cases, it is shown that although clinical signs may be associated with specific EEHV species, the swiftness of disease progression means that most body tissues are impacted 1-6 days following the presentation of visible clinical signs and treatment is less likely to succeed. Therefore, EEHV monitoring should consist of conducting regular polymerase chain reaction analysis of whole blood samples from at-risk, young Asian elephants aged 1-8 yr in order for subclinical viremia to be identified early and treatment to be started before the appearance of visible clinical signs.

  17. Biogeography and molar morphology of Pleistocene African elephants: new evidence from Elandsfontein, Western Cape Province, South Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, Kathlyn M.; Stynder, Deano D.

    2015-05-01

    Elandsfontein (EFT) is a Middle Pleistocene archaeological/paleontological site located in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The largest herbivore in the assemblage is Loxodonta atlantica zulu, an extinct member of the genus that includes modern African elephants. No Elephas recki specimens were recovered at EFT, despite their common occurrence in other regions of Africa at the same time. Because E. recki and L. atlantica molars are similar in appearance, but the two species are traditionally viewed as dominating different regions of Africa during the Pleistocene, isolated molars may on occasions have been assessed to species level on the basis of geography rather than morphology. The last morphologic evaluation of EFT elephants was conducted in the 1970s, and revisiting this issue with new specimens provides added insight into the evolution of elephants in Africa. Reevaluating morphological characteristics of EFT elephant molars, through qualitative and quantitative description and comparison with Middle Pleistocene E. recki recki, L. atlantica atlantica, and L. atlantica zulu molar morphology, corroborates assessment of EFT elephants as L. a. zulu. Two recently discovered, previously undescribed molars from EFT show that molars of L. a. zulu exhibit greater variation in enamel thickness, lamellar frequency, and occlusal surface morphology than previously reported. An update of the Pleistocene biogeography of Loxodonta and Elephas indicates that fossil remains of both are often found at the same localities in eastern Africa. Their rare co-occurrences in the north and south, however, suggest geographic separation of the two genera in at least some regions of Africa, which may have been based on habitat preference.

  18. African elephants adjust speed in response to surface-water constraint on foraging during the dry-season.

    PubMed

    Chamaillé-Jammes, Simon; Mtare, Godfrey; Makuwe, Edwin; Fritz, Hervé

    2013-01-01

    Most organisms need to acquire various resources to survive and reproduce. Individuals should adjust their behavior to make optimal use of the landscape and limit the costs of trade-offs emerging from the use of these resources. Here we study how African elephants Loxodonta africana travel to foraging places between regular visits to waterholes. Elephant herds were tracked using GPS collars during two consecutive dry seasons in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. We segmented each individual movement track at each visit to water to define foraging trips, and then used trip-level statistics to build an understanding of movement strategies. Travel speed within these individually-consistent movement bouts was also analyzed to understand if speed was better linked to distance to water or progression in the trip over time. We found that elephants went further from water when drinking less often, which could result from a trade-off between drinking and foraging in less depleted, far from water, places. Speed increased towards the beginning and the end of the trips, and was also greater than observed during the wet season, suggesting that elephants were trying to save time. Numerous short trips traveled at greater speed, particularly when commuting to a different waterhole, was tentatively explained by the inability to drink at specific waterholes due to intra-specific interference. Unexpectedly elephants did not always minimize travel time by drinking at the closest waterhole, but the extra distance traveled remained never more than a few kilometers. Our results show how individuals may adjust movement behavior to deal with resource trade-offs at the landscape scale. We also highlight how behavioral context, here progression in the trip, may be more important than spatial context, here distance to water, in explaining animal movement patterns.

  19. Harvesting and chewing as constraints to forage consumption by the African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

    O’Connor, Timothy G.

    2016-01-01

    As a foundation for understanding the diet of African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana), adult bulls and cows were observed over an annual cycle to determine whether harvesting (Pt), chewing (Ct) and handling times (Ht) differed across food types and harvesting methods (handling time is defined as the time to harvest, chew and swallow a trunkload of food). Bulls and cows were observed 105 and 26 times, respectively (94 and 26 individuals), with a total of 64 h of feeding recorded across 32 vegetation types. Some food types took longer to harvest and chew than others, which may influence intake rate and affect choice of diet. The method used to gather a trunkload of food had a significant effect on harvesting time, with simple foraging actions being comparatively rapid and more difficult tasks taking longer. Handling time was constrained by chewing for bulls, except for the processing of roots from woody plants, which was limited by harvesting. Time to gather a trunkload had a greater influence on handling time for cows compared to bulls. Harvesting and handling times were longer for bulls than cows, with the sexes adopting foraging behaviors that best suited their energy requirements. PMID:27688971

  20. Enduring consequences of early experiences: 40 year effects on survival and success among African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Lee, Phyllis C; Bussière, Luc F; Webber, C Elizabeth; Poole, Joyce H; Moss, Cynthia J

    2013-04-23

    Growth from conception to reproductive onset in African elephants (Loxodonta africana) provides insights into phenotypic plasticity, individual adaptive plastic responses and facultative maternal investment. Using growth for 867 and life histories for 2652 elephants over 40 years, we demonstrate that maternal inexperience plus drought in early life result in reduced growth rates for sons and higher mortality for both sexes. Slow growth during early lactation was associated with smaller adult size, later age at first reproduction, reduced lifetime survival and consequently limited reproductive output. These enduring effects of trading slow early growth against immediate survival were apparent over the very long term; delayed downstream consequences were unexpected for a species with a maximum longevity of 70+ years and unpredictable environmental experiences.

  1. What do population-level welfare indices suggest about the well-being of zoo elephants?

    PubMed

    Mason, Georgia J; Veasey, Jake S

    2010-01-01

    To assess zoo elephants' welfare using objective population-level indices, we sought data from zoos and other protected populations (potential "benchmarks") on variables affected by poor well-being. Such data were available on fecundity, potential fertility, stillbirths, infant mortality, adult survivorship, and stereotypic behavior. Most of these can also be affected by factors unrelated to well-being; therefore, for each, we analyzed the potential role of these other factors. Population-level comparisons generally indicate poor reproduction, and poor infant and adult survivorship in zoos compared with benchmark populations (with some differences between zoo regions and over time). Stereotypic behavior also occurs in c. 60% of zoo elephants; as the population-level welfare index least open to alternative interpretations, this represents the strongest evidence that well-being is/has been widely compromised. Poor well-being is a parsimonious explanation for the diverse range of population-level effects seen, but to test this hypothesis properly, data are now needed on, for example, potential confounds that can affect these indices (to partition out effects of factors unrelated to well-being), and causes of the observed temporal effects, and differences between species and zoo regions. Regardless of whether such additional data implicate poor well-being, our findings suggest that elephant management has generally been sub-optimal. We also discuss the selection and utilization of benchmark data, as a useful future approach for evaluating such issues.

  2. Devastating decline of forest elephants in central Africa.

    PubMed

    Maisels, Fiona; Strindberg, Samantha; Blake, Stephen; Wittemyer, George; Hart, John; Williamson, Elizabeth A; Aba'a, Rostand; Abitsi, Gaspard; Ambahe, Ruffin D; Amsini, Fidèl; Bakabana, Parfait C; Hicks, Thurston Cleveland; Bayogo, Rosine E; Bechem, Martha; Beyers, Rene L; Bezangoye, Anicet N; Boundja, Patrick; Bout, Nicolas; Akou, Marc Ella; Bene, Lambert Bene; Fosso, Bernard; Greengrass, Elizabeth; Grossmann, Falk; Ikamba-Nkulu, Clement; Ilambu, Omari; Inogwabini, Bila-Isia; Iyenguet, Fortune; Kiminou, Franck; Kokangoye, Max; Kujirakwinja, Deo; Latour, Stephanie; Liengola, Innocent; Mackaya, Quevain; Madidi, Jacob; Madzoke, Bola; Makoumbou, Calixte; Malanda, Guy-Aimé; Malonga, Richard; Mbani, Olivier; Mbendzo, Valentin A; Ambassa, Edgar; Ekinde, Albert; Mihindou, Yves; Morgan, Bethan J; Motsaba, Prosper; Moukala, Gabin; Mounguengui, Anselme; Mowawa, Brice S; Ndzai, Christian; Nixon, Stuart; Nkumu, Pele; Nzolani, Fabian; Pintea, Lilian; Plumptre, Andrew; Rainey, Hugo; de Semboli, Bruno Bokoto; Serckx, Adeline; Stokes, Emma; Turkalo, Andrea; Vanleeuwe, Hilde; Vosper, Ashley; Warren, Ymke

    2013-01-01

    African forest elephants- taxonomically and functionally unique-are being poached at accelerating rates, but we lack range-wide information on the repercussions. Analysis of the largest survey dataset ever assembled for forest elephants (80 foot-surveys; covering 13,000 km; 91,600 person-days of fieldwork) revealed that population size declined by ca. 62% between 2002-2011, and the taxon lost 30% of its geographical range. The population is now less than 10% of its potential size, occupying less than 25% of its potential range. High human population density, hunting intensity, absence of law enforcement, poor governance, and proximity to expanding infrastructure are the strongest predictors of decline. To save the remaining African forest elephants, illegal poaching for ivory and encroachment into core elephant habitat must be stopped. In addition, the international demand for ivory, which fuels illegal trade, must be dramatically reduced.

  3. Genetic connectivity across marginal habitats: the elephants of the Namib Desert.

    PubMed

    Ishida, Yasuko; Van Coeverden de Groot, Peter J; Leggett, Keith E A; Putnam, Andrea S; Fox, Virginia E; Lai, Jesse; Boag, Peter T; Georgiadis, Nicholas J; Roca, Alfred L

    2016-09-01

    Locally isolated populations in marginal habitats may be genetically distinctive and of heightened conservation concern. Elephants inhabiting the Namib Desert have been reported to show distinctive behavioral and phenotypic adaptations in that severely arid environment. The genetic distinctiveness of Namibian desert elephants relative to other African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) populations has not been established. To investigate the genetic structure of elephants in Namibia, we determined the mitochondrial (mt) DNA control region sequences and genotyped 17 microsatellite loci in desert elephants (n = 8) from the Hoanib River catchment and the Hoarusib River catchment. We compared these to the genotypes of elephants (n = 77) from other localities in Namibia. The mtDNA haplotype sequences and frequencies among desert elephants were similar to those of elephants in Etosha National Park, the Huab River catchment, the Ugab River catchment, and central Kunene, although the geographically distant Caprivi Strip had different mtDNA haplotypes. Likewise, analysis of the microsatellite genotypes of desert-dwelling elephants revealed that they were not genetically distinctive from Etosha elephants, and there was no evidence for isolation by distance across the Etosha region. These results, and a review of the historical record, suggest that a high learning capacity and long-distance migrations allowed Namibian elephants to regularly shift their ranges to survive in the face of high variability in climate and in hunting pressure.

  4. The mummified brain of a pleistocene woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) compared with the brain of the extant African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Kharlamova, Anastasia S; Saveliev, Sergei V; Protopopov, Albert V; Maseko, Busisiwe C; Bhagwandin, Adhil; Manger, Paul R

    2015-11-01

    This study presents the results of an examination of the mummified brain of a pleistocene woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) recovered from the Yakutian permafrost in Siberia, Russia. This unique specimen (from 39,440-38,850 years BP) provides the rare opportunity to compare the brain morphology of this extinct species with a related extant species, the African elephant (Loxodonta africana). An anatomical description of the preserved brain of the woolly mammoth is provided, along with a series of quantitative analyses of various brain structures. These descriptions are based on visual inspection of the actual specimen as well as qualitative and quantitative comparison of computed tomography imaging data obtained for the woolly mammoth in comparison with magnetic resonance imaging data from three African elephant brains. In general, the brain of the woolly mammoth specimen examined, estimated to weigh between 4,230 and 4,340 g, showed the typical shape, size, and gross structures observed in extant elephants. Quantitative comparative analyses of various features of the brain, such as the amygdala, corpus callosum, cerebellum, and gyrnecephalic index, all indicate that the brain of the woolly mammoth specimen examined has many similarities with that of modern African elephants. The analysis provided here indicates that a specific brain type representative of the Elephantidae is likely to be a feature of this mammalian family. In addition, the extensive similarities between the woolly mammoth brain and the African elephant brain indicate that the specializations observed in the extant elephant brain are likely to have been present in the woolly mammoth.

  5. Characterization of a novel polyomavirus isolated from a fibroma on the trunk of an African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Stevens, Hans; Bertelsen, Mads Frost; Sijmons, Steven; Van Ranst, Marc; Maes, Piet

    2013-01-01

    Viruses of the family Polyomaviridae infect a wide variety of avian and mammalian hosts with a broad spectrum of outcomes including asymptomatic infection, acute systemic disease, and tumor induction. In this study a novel polyomavirus, the African elephant polyomavirus 1 (AelPyV-1) found in a protruding hyperplastic fibrous lesion on the trunk of an African elephant (Loxodonta africana) was characterized. The AelPyV-1 genome is 5722 bp in size and is one of the largest polyomaviruses characterized to date. Analysis of the AelPyV-1 genome reveals five putative open-reading frames coding for the classic small and large T antigens in the early region, and the VP1, VP2 and VP3 capsid proteins in the late region. In the area preceding the VP2 start codon three putative open-reading frames, possibly coding for an agnoprotein, could be localized. A regulatory, non-coding region separates the 2 coding regions. Unique for polyomaviruses is the presence of a second 854 bp long non-coding region between the end of the early region and the end of the late region. Based on maximum likelihood phylogenetic analyses of the large T antigen of the AelPyV-1 and 61 other polyomavirus sequences, AelPyV-1 clusters within a heterogeneous group of polyomaviruses that have been isolated from bats, new world primates and rodents.

  6. Quantitative analysis of neocortical gyrencephaly in African elephants (Loxodonta africana) and six species of cetaceans: comparison with other mammals.

    PubMed

    Manger, Paul R; Prowse, Michelle; Haagensen, Mark; Hemingway, Jason

    2012-08-01

    This study provides quantitative data on the extent of gyrencephaly in the large-brained African elephant and several species of cetaceans (from smaller to larger brained) in comparison with other mammals. Across three mammalian orders (primates, carnivores, and artiodactyls), the species with the larger brains are more gyrencephalic with each order, exhibiting a specific negative allometry. The African elephant, with a 5-kg brain, has a gyrencephalic index (GI) of 3.89, which, though highly gyrencephalic, is not more so than would be predicted for a mammal with a 5-kg brain. The cetaceans had an average GI of 5.43, are the most gyrencephalic mammals studied to date, and are more gyrencephalic than one would predict based on comparison with other mammals. No relationship between brain mass and GI was evident in the cetaceans as seen in other mammals, with all cetaceans showing similar GIs irrespective of brain mass (range of GI 5.23-5.70, range of brain mass 577-5617 g). This is yet another parameter indicating cetaceans to be neuroanatomical outliers. Two species of pinnipeds studied had GIs that were well above those seen for terrestrial carnivores, and the aquatic manatee was close to lissencephalic. Thus, all three groups of marine mammals showed unusual extents of cortical gyrencephaly, indicating a morphological alteration of the telencephalon associated with the return to the marine environment. The analysis suggests that cortical thickness and neuronal density are important factors in determining the extent of gyrencephaly across mammalian species.

  7. Elephant behaviour and conservation: social relationships, the effects of poaching, and genetic tools for management.

    PubMed

    Archie, Elizabeth A; Chiyo, Patrick I

    2012-02-01

    Genetic tools are increasingly valuable for understanding the behaviour, evolution, and conservation of social species. In African elephants, for instance, genetic data provide basic information on the population genetic causes and consequences of social behaviour, and how human activities alter elephants' social and genetic structures. As such, African elephants provide a useful case study to understand the relationships between social behaviour and population genetic structure in a conservation framework. Here, we review three areas where genetic methods have made important contributions to elephant behavioural ecology and conservation: (1) understanding kin-based relationships in females and the effects of poaching on the adaptive value of elephant relationships, (2) understanding patterns of paternity in elephants and how poaching can alter these patterns, and (3) conservation genetic tools to census elusive populations, track ivory, and understand the behavioural ecology of crop-raiding. By comparing studies from populations that have experienced a range of poaching intensities, we find that human activities have a large effect on elephant behaviour and genetic structure. Poaching disrupts kin-based association patterns, decreases the quality of elephant social relationships, and increases male reproductive skew, with important consequences for population health and the maintenance of genetic diversity. In addition, we find that genetic tools to census populations or gather forensic information are almost always more accurate than non-genetic alternatives. These results contribute to a growing understanding of poaching on animal behaviour, and how genetic tools can be used to understand and conserve social species.

  8. Standing sedation in African elephants (Loxodonta africana) using detomidine-butorphanol combinations.

    PubMed

    Neiffer, Donald L; Miller, Michele A; Weber, Martha; Stetter, Mark; Fontenot, Deidre K; Robbins, P K; Pye, Geoffrey W

    2005-06-01

    Standing sedation was provided for 14 clinical procedures in three African elephants (Loxodonta africana) managed by combined protected and modified-protected contact and trained through operant conditioning. An initial hand-injection of detomidine hydrochloride and butorphanol tartrate at a ratio of 1:1 on a microg:microg basis was administered intramuscularly, with a dosage range of 50-70 mg (12.9-19.7 microg/kg) for each drug. The initial injection resulted in adequate sedation for initiation and completion of eight procedures, whereas supplemental doses were required for the remaining procedures. The dosage range for the supplemental injections of each drug was 4.0-7.3 microg/kg. Initial effect was noted within 3.0-25 min (mean = 11.6 min, SD +/- 5.9 min), with maximal effect occurring at 25-30 min for those procedures not requiring supplementation. In all but one procedure, this effect was maintained until the end of the procedure, which ranged from 47 to 98 min (mean = 74.7 min, SD +/- 18.8 min). No cardiac or respiratory depression was appreciated. Recovery after administration of reversal agents was rapid and complete, ranging from 2 to 20 min (mean = 9.0 min, SD +/- 7.0 min). On the basis of the authors' experience, recommended dosage ranges for reversal agents would be intravenous yohimbine (73.4-98.5 microg/kg), intravenous naltrexone (48.9-98.5 microg/kg), and intramuscular naltrexone (73.4-98.5 microg/kg). Approximately one-third to one-half of the total naltrexone dose should be administered intravenously. Mild adverse side effects limited to the gastrointestinal tract were observed in association with five procedures including abdominal distention with or without transient anorexia. Administration of reversal agents, encouraging exercise and water consumption, and administration of flunixin meglumine were helpful in the resolution of signs. In addition to gastrointestinal signs, slight ataxia was observed before initiation of surgical stimulation

  9. When Yawning Occurs in Elephants

    PubMed Central

    Rossman, Zoë T.; Hart, Benjamin L.; Greco, Brian J.; Young, Debbie; Padfield, Clare; Weidner, Lisa; Gates, Jennifer; Hart, Lynette A.

    2017-01-01

    Yawning is a widely recognized behavior in mammalian species. One would expect that elephants yawn, although to our knowledge, no one has reported observations of yawning in any species of elephant. After confirming a behavioral pattern matching the criteria of yawning in two Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in a zoological setting, this study was pursued with nine captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at a private reserve in the Western Cape, South Africa, the Knysna Elephant Park. Observations were made in June–September and in December. In the daytime, handlers managed seven of the elephants for guided interactions with visitors. At night, all elephants were maintained in a large enclosure with six having limited outdoor access. With infrared illumination, the elephants were continuously recorded by video cameras. During the nights, the elephants typically had 1–3 recumbent sleeping/resting bouts, each lasting 1–2 h. Yawning was a regular occurrence upon arousal from a recumbency, especially in the final recumbency of the night. Yawning was significantly more frequent in some elephants. Yawning was rare during the daytime and during periods of standing around in the enclosure at night. In six occurrences of likely contagious yawning, one elephant yawned upon seeing another elephant yawning upon arousal from a final recumbency; we recorded the sex and age category of the participants. The generality of yawning in both African and Asian elephants in other environments was documented in video recordings from 39 zoological facilities. In summary, the study provides evidence that yawning does occur in both African and Asian elephants, and in African elephants, yawning was particularly associated with arousal from nighttime recumbencies. PMID:28293560

  10. When Yawning Occurs in Elephants.

    PubMed

    Rossman, Zoë T; Hart, Benjamin L; Greco, Brian J; Young, Debbie; Padfield, Clare; Weidner, Lisa; Gates, Jennifer; Hart, Lynette A

    2017-01-01

    Yawning is a widely recognized behavior in mammalian species. One would expect that elephants yawn, although to our knowledge, no one has reported observations of yawning in any species of elephant. After confirming a behavioral pattern matching the criteria of yawning in two Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in a zoological setting, this study was pursued with nine captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at a private reserve in the Western Cape, South Africa, the Knysna Elephant Park. Observations were made in June-September and in December. In the daytime, handlers managed seven of the elephants for guided interactions with visitors. At night, all elephants were maintained in a large enclosure with six having limited outdoor access. With infrared illumination, the elephants were continuously recorded by video cameras. During the nights, the elephants typically had 1-3 recumbent sleeping/resting bouts, each lasting 1-2 h. Yawning was a regular occurrence upon arousal from a recumbency, especially in the final recumbency of the night. Yawning was significantly more frequent in some elephants. Yawning was rare during the daytime and during periods of standing around in the enclosure at night. In six occurrences of likely contagious yawning, one elephant yawned upon seeing another elephant yawning upon arousal from a final recumbency; we recorded the sex and age category of the participants. The generality of yawning in both African and Asian elephants in other environments was documented in video recordings from 39 zoological facilities. In summary, the study provides evidence that yawning does occur in both African and Asian elephants, and in African elephants, yawning was particularly associated with arousal from nighttime recumbencies.

  11. Combating the illegal trade in African elephant ivory with DNA forensics.

    PubMed

    Wasser, Samuel K; Joseph Clark, William; Drori, Ofir; Stephen Kisamo, Emily; Mailand, Celia; Mutayoba, Benezeth; Stephens, Matthew

    2008-08-01

    International wildlife crime is burgeoning in this climate of global trade. We contend that the most effective way to contain this illegal trade is to determine where the wildlife is being removed. This allows authorities to direct law enforcement to poaching hot spots, potentially stops trade before the wildlife is actually killed, prevents countries from denying their poaching problems at home, and thwarts trade before it enters into an increasingly complex web of international criminal activity. Forensic tools have been limited in their ability to determine product origin because the information they can provide typically begins only at the point of shipment. DNA assignment analyses can determine product origin, but its use has been limited by the inability to assign samples to locations where reference samples do not exist. We applied new DNA assignment methods that can determine the geographic origin(s) of wildlife products from anywhere within its range. We used these methods to examine the geographic origin(s) of 2 strings of seizures involving large volumes of elephant ivory, 1 string seized in Singapore and Malawi and the other in Hong Kong and Cameroon. These ivory traffickers may comprise 2 of the largest poaching rings in Africa. In both cases all ivory seized in the string had common origins, which indicates that crime syndicates are targeting specific populations for intense exploitation. This result contradicts the dominant belief that dealers are using a decentralized plan of procuring ivory stocks as they became available across Africa. Large quantities of ivory were then moved, in multiple shipments, through an intermediate country prior to shipment to Asia, as a risk-reduction strategy that distances the dealer from the poaching locale. These smuggling strategies could not have been detected by forensic information, which typically begins only at the shipping source.

  12. History of Animals using Isotope Records (HAIR): A 6-year dietary history of one family of African elephants

    PubMed Central

    Cerling, Thure E.; Wittemyer, George; Ehleringer, James R.; Remien, Christopher H.; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain

    2009-01-01

    The dietary and movement history of individual animals can be studied using stable isotope records in animal tissues, providing insight into long-term ecological dynamics and a species niche. We provide a 6-year history of elephant diet by examining tail hair collected from 4 elephants in the same social family unit in northern Kenya. Sequential measurements of carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen isotope rations in hair provide a weekly record of diet and water resources. Carbon isotope ratios were well correlated with satellite-based measurements of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) of the region occupied by the elephants as recorded by the global positioning system (GPS) movement record; the absolute amount of C4 grass consumption is well correlated with the maximum value of NDVI during individual wet seasons. Changes in hydrogen isotope ratios coincided very closely in time with seasonal fluctuations in rainfall and NDVI whereas diet shifts to relatively high proportions of grass lagged seasonal increases in NDVI by ≈2 weeks. The peak probability of conception in the population occurred ≈3 weeks after peak grazing. Spatial and temporal patterns of resource use show that the only period of pure browsing by the focal elephants was located in an over-grazed, communally managed region outside the protected area. The ability to extract time-specific longitudinal records on animal diets, and therefore the ecological history of an organism and its environment, provides an avenue for understanding the impact of climate dynamics and land-use change on animal foraging behavior and habitat relations. PMID:19365077

  13. Elucidating the significance of spatial memory on movement decisions by African savannah elephants using state–space models

    PubMed Central

    Polansky, Leo; Kilian, Werner; Wittemyer, George

    2015-01-01

    Spatial memory facilitates resource acquisition where resources are patchy, but how it influences movement behaviour of wide-ranging species remains to be resolved. We examined African elephant spatial memory reflected in movement decisions regarding access to perennial waterholes. State–space models of movement data revealed a rapid, highly directional movement behaviour almost exclusively associated with visiting perennial water. Behavioural change point (BCP) analyses demonstrated that these goal-oriented movements were initiated on average 4.59 km, and up to 49.97 km, from the visited waterhole, with the closest waterhole accessed 90% of the time. Distances of decision points increased when switching to different waterholes, during the dry season, or for female groups relative to males, while selection of the closest waterhole decreased when switching. Overall, our analyses indicated detailed spatial knowledge over large scales, enabling elephants to minimize travel distance through highly directional movement when accessing water. We discuss the likely cognitive and socioecological mechanisms driving these spatially precise movements that are most consistent with our findings. By applying modern analytic techniques to high-resolution movement data, this study illustrates emerging approaches for studying how cognition structures animal movement behaviour in different ecological and social contexts. PMID:25808888

  14. Elucidating the significance of spatial memory on movement decisions by African savannah elephants using state-space models.

    PubMed

    Polansky, Leo; Kilian, Werner; Wittemyer, George

    2015-04-22

    Spatial memory facilitates resource acquisition where resources are patchy, but how it influences movement behaviour of wide-ranging species remains to be resolved. We examined African elephant spatial memory reflected in movement decisions regarding access to perennial waterholes. State-space models of movement data revealed a rapid, highly directional movement behaviour almost exclusively associated with visiting perennial water. Behavioural change point (BCP) analyses demonstrated that these goal-oriented movements were initiated on average 4.59 km, and up to 49.97 km, from the visited waterhole, with the closest waterhole accessed 90% of the time. Distances of decision points increased when switching to different waterholes, during the dry season, or for female groups relative to males, while selection of the closest waterhole decreased when switching. Overall, our analyses indicated detailed spatial knowledge over large scales, enabling elephants to minimize travel distance through highly directional movement when accessing water. We discuss the likely cognitive and socioecological mechanisms driving these spatially precise movements that are most consistent with our findings. By applying modern analytic techniques to high-resolution movement data, this study illustrates emerging approaches for studying how cognition structures animal movement behaviour in different ecological and social contexts.

  15. Modeling the Distribution of African Savanna Elephants in Kruger National Park: AN Application of Multi-Scale GLOBELAND30 Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xu, W.; Hays, B.; Fayrer-Hosken, R.; Presotto, A.

    2016-06-01

    The ability of remote sensing to represent ecologically relevant features at multiple spatial scales makes it a powerful tool for studying wildlife distributions. Species of varying sizes perceive and interact with their environment at differing scales; therefore, it is important to consider the role of spatial resolution of remotely sensed data in the creation of distribution models. The release of the Globeland30 land cover classification in 2014, with its 30 m resolution, presents the opportunity to do precisely that. We created a series of Maximum Entropy distribution models for African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) using Globeland30 data analyzed at varying resolutions. We compared these with similarly re-sampled models created from the European Space Agency's Global Land Cover Map (Globcover). These data, in combination with GIS layers of topography and distance to roads, human activity, and water, as well as elephant GPS collar data, were used with MaxEnt software to produce the final distribution models. The AUC (Area Under the Curve) scores indicated that the models created from 600 m data performed better than other spatial resolutions and that the Globeland30 models generally performed better than the Globcover models. Additionally, elevation and distance to rivers seemed to be the most important variables in our models. Our results demonstrate that Globeland30 is a valid alternative to the well-established Globcover for creating wildlife distribution models. It may even be superior for applications which require higher spatial resolution and less nuanced classifications.

  16. Highly Accurate Antibody Assays for Early and Rapid Detection of Tuberculosis in African and Asian Elephants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Tuberculosis (TB) in elephants is a re-emerging zoonotic disease caused primarily by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Current methods for screening and diagnosis rely on trunk wash culture, which has serious limitations due to low test sensitivity, slow turn-around time, and variable sample quality. Inn...

  17. Body temperature daily rhythm adaptations in African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Kinahan, A A; Inge-moller, R; Bateman, P W; Kotze, A; Scantlebury, M

    2007-11-23

    The savanna elephant is the largest extant mammal and often inhabits hot and arid environments. Due to their large size, it might be expected that elephants have particular physiological adaptations, such as adjustments to the rhythms of their core body temperature (T(b)) to deal with environmental challenges. This study describes for the first time the T(b) daily rhythms in savanna elephants. Our results showed that elephants had lower mean T(b) values (36.2 +/- 0.49 degrees C) than smaller ungulates inhabiting similar environments but did not have larger or smaller amplitudes of T(b) variation (0.40 +/- 0.12 degrees C), as would be predicted by their exposure to large fluctuations in ambient temperature or their large size. No difference was found between the daily T(b) rhythms measured under different conditions of water stress. Peak T(b)'s occurred late in the evening (22:10) which is generally later than in other large mammals ranging in similar environmental conditions.

  18. Genetic and morphometric differentiation between island and mainland southern elephant seal populations.

    PubMed Central

    Hoelzel, A. R.; Campagna, C.; Arnbom, T.

    2001-01-01

    We compare genetic (both nuclear and mitochondrial) and morphometric measures between two putative populations of southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina), and interpret the results in the context of data from mark-recapture and satellite-telemetric studies. One population is on the Argentine mainland, while the other is 2,400 km away on South Georgia island. We found pronounced differentiation at the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region that was distinct from the pattern of variation seen among island rookeries. Some morphometric characters and seven out of ten nuclear-DNA markers also showed differentiation between the island and mainland sites. Diversity at nuclear markers was high in both populations but mtDNA diversity was low in the mainland population, suggesting a founder event and little subsequent immigration of females. Morphological differences may suggest different selective environments at the two sites. PMID:11217905

  19. Use of handheld X-ray fluorescence as a non-invasive method to distinguish between Asian and African elephant tusks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buddhachat, Kittisak; Thitaram, Chatchote; Brown, Janine L.; Klinhom, Sarisa; Bansiddhi, Pakkanut; Penchart, Kitichaya; Ouitavon, Kanita; Sriaksorn, Khanittha; Pa-in, Chalermpol; Kanchanasaka, Budsabong; Somgird, Chaleamchat; Nganvongpanit, Korakot

    2016-04-01

    We describe the use of handheld X-ray fluorescence, for elephant tusk species identification. Asian (n = 72) and African (n = 85) elephant tusks were scanned and we utilized the species differences in elemental composition to develop a functional model differentiating between species with high precision. Spatially, the majority of measured elements (n = 26) exhibited a homogeneous distribution in cross-section, but a more heterologous pattern in the longitudinal direction. Twenty-one of twenty four elements differed between Asian and African samples. Data were subjected to hierarchical cluster analysis followed by a stepwise discriminant analysis, which identified elements for the functional equation. The best equation consisted of ratios of Si, S, Cl, Ti, Mn, Ag, Sb and W, with Zr as the denominator. Next, Bayesian binary regression model analysis was conducted to predict the probability that a tusk would be of African origin. A cut-off value was established to improve discrimination. This Bayesian hybrid classification model was then validated by scanning an additional 30 Asian and 41 African tusks, which showed high accuracy (94%) and precision (95%) rates. We conclude that handheld XRF is an accurate, non-invasive method to discriminate origin of elephant tusks provides rapid results applicable to use in the field.

  20. Use of handheld X-ray fluorescence as a non-invasive method to distinguish between Asian and African elephant tusks

    PubMed Central

    Buddhachat, Kittisak; Thitaram, Chatchote; Brown, Janine L.; Klinhom, Sarisa; Bansiddhi, Pakkanut; Penchart, Kitichaya; Ouitavon, Kanita; Sriaksorn, Khanittha; Pa-in, Chalermpol; Kanchanasaka, Budsabong; Somgird, Chaleamchat; Nganvongpanit, Korakot

    2016-01-01

    We describe the use of handheld X-ray fluorescence, for elephant tusk species identification. Asian (n = 72) and African (n = 85) elephant tusks were scanned and we utilized the species differences in elemental composition to develop a functional model differentiating between species with high precision. Spatially, the majority of measured elements (n = 26) exhibited a homogeneous distribution in cross-section, but a more heterologous pattern in the longitudinal direction. Twenty-one of twenty four elements differed between Asian and African samples. Data were subjected to hierarchical cluster analysis followed by a stepwise discriminant analysis, which identified elements for the functional equation. The best equation consisted of ratios of Si, S, Cl, Ti, Mn, Ag, Sb and W, with Zr as the denominator. Next, Bayesian binary regression model analysis was conducted to predict the probability that a tusk would be of African origin. A cut-off value was established to improve discrimination. This Bayesian hybrid classification model was then validated by scanning an additional 30 Asian and 41 African tusks, which showed high accuracy (94%) and precision (95%) rates. We conclude that handheld XRF is an accurate, non-invasive method to discriminate origin of elephant tusks provides rapid results applicable to use in the field. PMID:27097717

  1. Devastating Decline of Forest Elephants in Central Africa

    PubMed Central

    Blake, Stephen; Wittemyer, George; Hart, John; Williamson, Elizabeth A.; Aba’a, Rostand; Abitsi, Gaspard; Ambahe, Ruffin D.; Amsini, Fidèl; Bakabana, Parfait C.; Hicks, Thurston Cleveland; Bayogo, Rosine E.; Bechem, Martha; Beyers, Rene L.; Bezangoye, Anicet N.; Boundja, Patrick; Bout, Nicolas; Akou, Marc Ella; Bene, Lambert Bene; Fosso, Bernard; Greengrass, Elizabeth; Grossmann, Falk; Ikamba-Nkulu, Clement; Ilambu, Omari; Inogwabini, Bila-Isia; Iyenguet, Fortune; Kiminou, Franck; Kokangoye, Max; Kujirakwinja, Deo; Latour, Stephanie; Liengola, Innocent; Mackaya, Quevain; Madidi, Jacob; Madzoke, Bola; Makoumbou, Calixte; Malanda, Guy-Aimé; Malonga, Richard; Mbani, Olivier; Mbendzo, Valentin A.; Ambassa, Edgar; Ekinde, Albert; Mihindou, Yves; Morgan, Bethan J.; Motsaba, Prosper; Moukala, Gabin; Mounguengui, Anselme; Mowawa, Brice S.; Ndzai, Christian; Nixon, Stuart; Nkumu, Pele; Nzolani, Fabian; Pintea, Lilian; Plumptre, Andrew; Rainey, Hugo; de Semboli, Bruno Bokoto; Serckx, Adeline; Stokes, Emma; Turkalo, Andrea; Vanleeuwe, Hilde; Vosper, Ashley; Warren, Ymke

    2013-01-01

    African forest elephants– taxonomically and functionally unique–are being poached at accelerating rates, but we lack range-wide information on the repercussions. Analysis of the largest survey dataset ever assembled for forest elephants (80 foot-surveys; covering 13,000 km; 91,600 person-days of fieldwork) revealed that population size declined by ca. 62% between 2002–2011, and the taxon lost 30% of its geographical range. The population is now less than 10% of its potential size, occupying less than 25% of its potential range. High human population density, hunting intensity, absence of law enforcement, poor governance, and proximity to expanding infrastructure are the strongest predictors of decline. To save the remaining African forest elephants, illegal poaching for ivory and encroachment into core elephant habitat must be stopped. In addition, the international demand for ivory, which fuels illegal trade, must be dramatically reduced. PMID:23469289

  2. A Novel Objective Method of Estimating the Age of Mandibles from African Elephants (Loxodonta africana Africana).

    PubMed

    Stansfield, Fiona J

    2015-01-01

    The importance of assigning an accurate estimate of age and sex to elephant carcasses found in the wild has increased in recent years with the escalation in levels of poaching throughout Africa. Irregularities identified in current ageing techniques prompted the development of a new method to describe molar progression throughout life. Elephant mandibles (n = 323) were studied and a point near the distal dental alveolus was identified as being most useful in ranking each jaw according to molar progression. These 'Age Reference Lines' were then associated with an age scale based on previous studies and Zimbabwean mandibles of known age. The new ranking produced a single age scale that proved useful for both male and female mandibles up to the maximum lifespan age of 70-75 years. Methods to aid in molar identification and the sexing of found jaws were also identified.

  3. A Novel Objective Method of Estimating the Age of Mandibles from African Elephants (Loxodonta africana Africana)

    PubMed Central

    Stansfield, Fiona J.

    2015-01-01

    The importance of assigning an accurate estimate of age and sex to elephant carcasses found in the wild has increased in recent years with the escalation in levels of poaching throughout Africa. Irregularities identified in current ageing techniques prompted the development of a new method to describe molar progression throughout life. Elephant mandibles (n = 323) were studied and a point near the distal dental alveolus was identified as being most useful in ranking each jaw according to molar progression. These ‘Age Reference Lines’ were then associated with an age scale based on previous studies and Zimbabwean mandibles of known age. The new ranking produced a single age scale that proved useful for both male and female mandibles up to the maximum lifespan age of 70–75 years. Methods to aid in molar identification and the sexing of found jaws were also identified. PMID:25970428

  4. Ovarian cycle activity varies with respect to age and social status in free-ranging elephants in Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa.

    PubMed

    Freeman, Elizabeth W; Meyer, Jordana M; Putman, Sarah B; Schulte, Bruce A; Brown, Janine L

    2013-01-01

    Free-ranging African elephants live in a fission-fusion society, at the centre of which is the matriarch. Matriarchs are generally older females that guide their families to resources and co-ordinate group defense. While much is known about elephant society, knowledge is generally lacking about how age affects the physiology of wild elephants. Investigation of the ovarian activity of free-ranging elephants could provide insight into the reproductive ageing process, with implications for population management. Faecal samples were collected from 46 individuals ranging in age from 14 to 60 years for a 2-year period, and progestagen metabolite analyses were used to examine relationships between social status, age, season, and ovarian activity in female elephants in Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa. Social status was the strongest predictor of faecal progestagen metabolite concentrations in non-pregnant elephants, with grand matriarchs (n = 6) having the lowest values compared with matriarchs (n = 21) and non-matriarch females (n = 19). Likewise, social status and age were the strongest predictors of faecal progestagen metabolite concentrations in pregnant elephants (n = 27). The number of years since a non-pregnant female gave birth to her last calf (post-partum duration) was longer for older females with a higher social status, as well as during the dry season. Our results indicate that social standing and age of elephants are related to reproductive function, and that older females exhibit reductions in ovarian capacity. These results expand our understanding of reproduction and fertility throughout an elephant's lifespan, and the factors that impact gonadal function in free-ranging females. Given that possible over-abundance of elephants in areas such as Addo Elephant National Park is fuelling the debate over how best to manage these populations, knowledge about the reproductive potential of high-ranking females can provide managers with

  5. Non-destructive analysis of the two subspecies of African elephants, mammoth, hippopotamus, and sperm whale ivories by visible and short-wave near infrared spectroscopy and chemometrics.

    PubMed

    Shimoyama, Masahiko; Morimoto, Susumu; Ozaki, Yukihiro

    2004-06-01

    Visible (VIS) and short-wave near infrared (SW-NIR) spectroscopy was used for non-destructive analysis of ivories. VIS-SW-NIR (500-1000 nm) spectra were measured in situ for five kinds of ivories, that is two subspecies of African elephants, mammoth, hippopotamus, and sperm whale. Chemometrics analyses were carried out for the spectral data from 500 to 1000 nm region. The five kinds of ivories were clearly discriminated from each other on the scores plot of two principal components (PCs) obtained by principal component analysis (PCA). It was noteworthy that the ivories of the two subspecies of African elephants were discriminated by the scores of PC 1. The loadings plot for PC 1 showed that the discrimination relies on the intensity changes in bands due to collagenous proteins and water interacting with proteins. It was found that the scores plot of PC 2 is useful to distinguish between the ivories of the two subspecies of African elephants and the other ivories. We also developed a calibration model that predicted the specific gravity of five kinds of ivories from their VIS-SW-NIR spectral data using partial least squares (PLS)-1 regression. The correlation coefficient and root mean square error of cross validation (RMSECV) of this model were 0.960 and 0.037, respectively.

  6. CONSERVATION. Genetic assignment of large seizures of elephant ivory reveals Africa's major poaching hotspots.

    PubMed

    Wasser, S K; Brown, L; Mailand, C; Mondol, S; Clark, W; Laurie, C; Weir, B S

    2015-07-03

    Poaching of elephants is now occurring at rates that threaten African populations with extinction. Identifying the number and location of Africa's major poaching hotspots may assist efforts to end poaching and facilitate recovery of elephant populations. We genetically assign origin to 28 large ivory seizures (≥0.5 metric tons) made between 1996 and 2014, also testing assignment accuracy. Results suggest that the major poaching hotspots in Africa may be currently concentrated in as few as two areas. Increasing law enforcement in these two hotspots could help curtail future elephant losses across Africa and disrupt this organized transnational crime.

  7. Nonluteal estrous cycles of 3-week duration are initiated by anovulatory luteinizing hormone peaks in African elephants.

    PubMed

    Kapustin, N; Critser, J K; Olson, D; Malven, P V

    1996-11-01

    Previous attempts to characterize the estrous cycle of elephants have yielded conflicting estimates of cycle length and LH profiles. In order to establish artificial breeding programs in this species, resolution of these issues is needed. Therefore, four female African elephants housed at the Indianapolis Zoo were studied for approximately 6 mo beginning in December 1994. Blood was collected weekly, and the serum was immediately analyzed for progesterone (P4). Whenever the weekly concentration of P4 was found to be low, blood was collected one or four times per day. All serum samples were assayed for LH, and the daily samples were assayed for P4 and estradiol. Transient increases of serum LH (designated as peaks) were observed four times in each of the four females. Of these 16 LH peaks, 8 were classified as ovulatory LH (ovLH) peaks and 8 were classified as anovulatory LH (anLH) peaks. Peaks designated ovLH averaged 3.60 +/- 0.67 ng/ml (mean +/- SEM); serum P4 measured during these peaks began to increase 2-3 days before each ovLH peak and continued to increase for several weeks thereafter, reaching a peak of 675 +/- 35 pg/ml. The eight other LH peaks, designated anLH peaks, were of similar (p > 0.05) magnitude averaging 3.07 +/- 0.72 ng/ml, but the serum concentration of P4 remained very low (< 80 pg/ml) during and for several weeks after these peaks. Six peaks designated anLH occurred an average of 12.2 +/- 1.4 days after serum P4 had declined below 80 pg/ml. In each elephant, there was a regular sequence in which each ovLH peak was followed by a luteal-active period lasting about 60 days and then about 12 days later by one anLH peak. Each anLH peak was followed 19-22 days later by one ovLH peak, but serum P4 remained at nonluteal levels throughout this interval between peaks. The authors propose to designate this interval after the anLH peak and before the next ovLH peak as a nonluteal (i.e., low P4) estrous cycle of only 3-wk duration. Following each short

  8. How Immunocontraception Can Contribute to Elephant Management in Small, Enclosed Reserves: Munyawana Population as a Case Study

    PubMed Central

    Druce, Heleen C.; Mackey, Robin L.; Slotow, Rob

    2011-01-01

    Immunocontraception has been widely used as a management tool to reduce population growth in captive as well as wild populations of various fauna. We model the use of an individual-based rotational immunocontraception plan on a wild elephant, Loxodonta africana, population and quantify the social and reproductive advantages of this method of implementation using adaptive management. The use of immunocontraception on an individual, rotational basis stretches the inter-calving interval for each individual female elephant to a management-determined interval, preventing exposing females to unlimited long-term immunocontraception use (which may have as yet undocumented negative effects). Such rotational immunocontraception can effectively lower population growth rates, age the population, and alter the age structure. Furthermore, such structured intervention can simulate natural process such as predation or episodic catastrophic events (e.g., drought), which regulates calf recruitment within an abnormally structured population. A rotational immunocontraception plan is a feasible and useful elephant population management tool, especially in a small, enclosed conservation area. Such approaches should be considered for other long-lived, social species in enclosed areas where the long-term consequences of consistent contraception may be unknown. PMID:22174758

  9. Seed dispersal potential of Asian elephants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harich, Franziska K.; Treydte, Anna C.; Ogutu, Joseph O.; Roberts, John E.; Savini, Chution; Bauer, Jan M.; Savini, Tommaso

    2016-11-01

    Elephants, the largest terrestrial mega-herbivores, play an important ecological role in maintaining forest ecosystem diversity. While several plant species strongly rely on African elephants (Loxodonta africana; L. cyclotis) as seed dispersers, little is known about the dispersal potential of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). We examined the effects of elephant fruit consumption on potential seed dispersal using the example of a tree species with mega-faunal characteristics, Dillenia indica L., in Thailand. We conducted feeding trials with Asian elephants to quantify seed survival and gut passage times (GPT). In total, 1200 ingested and non-ingested control seeds were planted in soil and in elephant dung to quantify differences in germination rates in terms of GPT and dung treatment. We used survival analysis as a novel approach to account for the right-censored nature of the data obtained from germination experiments. The average seed survival rate was 79% and the mean GPT was 35 h. The minimum and maximum GPT were 20 h and 72 h, respectively. Ingested seeds were significantly more likely to germinate and to do so earlier than non-ingested control seeds (P = 0.0002). Seeds with the longest GPT displayed the highest germination success over time. Unexpectedly, seeds planted with dung had longer germination times than those planted without. We conclude that D. indica does not solely depend on but benefits from dispersal by elephants. The declining numbers of these mega-faunal seed dispersers might, therefore, have long-term negative consequences for the recruitment and dispersal dynamics of populations of certain tree species.

  10. Zoo visitor perceptions, attitudes, and conservation intent after viewing African elephants at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

    PubMed

    Hacker, Charlotte E; Miller, Lance J

    2016-07-01

    Elephants in the wild face several conservation issues. With the rebranding of zoos as conservation and education pioneers, they have the ability to both educate and inspire guests to action. The purpose of this research was to analyze visitor perceptions and attitudes toward elephant conservation and outcomes post-exhibit visit. A one-page survey was randomly administered to assess perceptions of elephant behavior, attitudes about elephant conservation, and intended conservation-related outcomes from September 2013 to January 2014. Principle component analysis identified three major components: concern for elephants in zoos, importance of elephants in the wild, and modification of nature. Visitors who scored highly on conservation intent were those with positive attitudes towards elephants in the wild and negative attitudes regarding the modification of nature. The greatest changes in conservation intent were a result of a self-reported up-close encounter and the ability to witness active behaviors. Providing guests with the opportunity to witness or experience such occurrences may aid in a more successful delivery of the zoo's conservation message. Further research into guest emotions and affective states in relation to viewing elephants in a zoological institution would provide greater insight into improving the guest experience and helping zoos meet their conservation mission. Zoo Biol. 35:355-361, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  11. Genome-wide patterns of population structure and admixture in West Africans and African Americans.

    PubMed

    Bryc, Katarzyna; Auton, Adam; Nelson, Matthew R; Oksenberg, Jorge R; Hauser, Stephen L; Williams, Scott; Froment, Alain; Bodo, Jean-Marie; Wambebe, Charles; Tishkoff, Sarah A; Bustamante, Carlos D

    2010-01-12

    Quantifying patterns of population structure in Africans and African Americans illuminates the history of human populations and is critical for undertaking medical genomic studies on a global scale. To obtain a fine-scale genome-wide perspective of ancestry, we analyze Affymetrix GeneChip 500K genotype data from African Americans (n = 365) and individuals with ancestry from West Africa (n = 203 from 12 populations) and Europe (n = 400 from 42 countries). We find that population structure within the West African sample reflects primarily language and secondarily geographical distance, echoing the Bantu expansion. Among African Americans, analysis of genomic admixture by a principal component-based approach indicates that the median proportion of European ancestry is 18.5% (25th-75th percentiles: 11.6-27.7%), with very large variation among individuals. In the African-American sample as a whole, few autosomal regions showed exceptionally high or low mean African ancestry, but the X chromosome showed elevated levels of African ancestry, consistent with a sex-biased pattern of gene flow with an excess of European male and African female ancestry. We also find that genomic profiles of individual African Americans afford personalized ancestry reconstructions differentiating ancient vs. recent European and African ancestry. Finally, patterns of genetic similarity among inferred African segments of African-American genomes and genomes of contemporary African populations included in this study suggest African ancestry is most similar to non-Bantu Niger-Kordofanian-speaking populations, consistent with historical documents of the African Diaspora and trans-Atlantic slave trade.

  12. Forest elephant mitochondrial genomes reveal that elephantid diversification in Africa tracked climate transitions.

    PubMed

    Brandt, Adam L; Ishida, Yasuko; Georgiadis, Nicholas J; Roca, Alfred L

    2012-03-01

    Among elephants, the phylogeographic patterns of mitochondrial (mt) and nuclear markers are often incongruent. One hypothesis attributes this to sex differences in dispersal and in the variance of reproductive success. We tested this hypothesis by examining the coalescent dates of genetic markers within elephantid lineages, predicting that lower dispersal and lower variance in reproductive success among females would have increased mtDNA relative to nuclear coalescent dates. We sequenced the mitochondrial genomes of two forest elephants, aligning them to mitogenomes of African savanna and Asian elephants, and of woolly mammoths, including the most divergent mitogenomes within each lineage. Using fossil calibrations, the divergence between African elephant F and S clade mitochondrial genomes (originating in forest and savanna elephant lineages, respectively) was estimated as 5.5 Ma. We estimated that the (African) ancestor of the mammoth and Asian elephant lineages diverged 6.0 Ma, indicating that four elephantid lineages had differentiated in Africa by the Miocene-Pliocene transition, concurrent with drier climates. The coalescent date for forest elephant mtDNAs was c. 2.4 Ma, suggesting that the decrease in tropical forest cover during the Pleistocene isolated distinct African forest elephant lineages. For all elephantid lineages, the ratio of mtDNA to nuclear coalescent dates was much greater than 0.25. This is consistent with the expectation that sex differences in dispersal and in variance of reproductive success would have increased the effective population size of mtDNA relative to nuclear markers in elephantids, contributing to the persistence of incongruent mtDNA phylogeographic patterns.

  13. Elephant Management in North American Zoos: Environmental Enrichment, Feeding, Exercise, and Training.

    PubMed

    Greco, Brian J; Meehan, Cheryl L; Miller, Lance J; Shepherdson, David J; Morfeld, Kari A; Andrews, Jeff; Baker, Anne M; Carlstead, Kathy; Mench, Joy A

    2016-01-01

    The management of African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants in zoos involves a range of practices including feeding, exercise, training, and environmental enrichment. These practices are necessary to meet the elephants' nutritional, healthcare, and husbandry needs. However, these practices are not standardized, resulting in likely variation among zoos as well as differences in the way they are applied to individual elephants within a zoo. To characterize elephant management in North America, we collected survey data from zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, developed 26 variables, generated population level descriptive statistics, and analyzed them to identify differences attributable to sex and species. Sixty-seven zoos submitted surveys describing the management of 224 elephants and the training experiences of 227 elephants. Asian elephants spent more time managed (defined as interacting directly with staff) than Africans (mean time managed: Asians = 56.9%; Africans = 48.6%; p<0.001), and managed time increased by 20.2% for every year of age for both species. Enrichment, feeding, and exercise programs were evaluated using diversity indices, with mean scores across zoos in the midrange for these measures. There were an average of 7.2 feedings every 24-hour period, with only 1.2 occurring during the nighttime. Feeding schedules were predictable at 47.5% of zoos. We also calculated the relative use of rewarding and aversive techniques employed during training interactions. The population median was seven on a scale from one (representing only aversive stimuli) to nine (representing only rewarding stimuli). The results of our study provide essential information for understanding management variation that could be relevant to welfare. Furthermore, the variables we created have been used in subsequent elephant welfare analyses.

  14. Risk and Ethical Concerns of Hunting Male Elephant: Behavioural and Physiological Assays of the Remaining Elephants

    PubMed Central

    Burke, Tarryne; Page, Bruce; Van Dyk, Gus; Millspaugh, Josh; Slotow, Rob

    2008-01-01

    Background Hunting of male African elephants may pose ethical and risk concerns, particularly given their status as a charismatic species of high touristic value, yet which are capable of both killing people and damaging infrastructure. Methodology/Principal Findings We quantified the effect of hunts of male elephants on (1) risk of attack or damage (11 hunts), and (2) behavioural (movement dynamics) and physiological (stress hormone metabolite concentrations) responses (4 hunts) in Pilanesberg National Park. For eleven hunts, there were no subsequent attacks on people or infrastructure, and elephants did not break out of the fenced reserve. For three focal hunts, there was an initial flight response by bulls present at the hunting site, but their movements stabilised the day after the hunt event. Animals not present at the hunt (both bulls and herds) did not show movement responses. Physiologically, hunting elephant bulls increased faecal stress hormone levels (corticosterone metabolites) in both those bulls that were present at the hunts (for up to four days post-hunt) and in the broader bull and breeding herd population (for up to one month post-hunt). Conclusions/Significance As all responses were relatively minor, hunting male elephants is ethically acceptable when considering effects on the remaining elephant population; however bulls should be hunted when alone. Hunting is feasible in relatively small enclosed reserves without major risk of attack, damage, or breakout. Physiological stress assays were more effective than behavioural responses in detecting effects of human intervention. Similar studies should evaluate intervention consequences, inform and improve best practice, and should be widely applied by management agencies. PMID:18560517

  15. The elephant knee joint: morphological and biomechanical considerations

    PubMed Central

    Weissengruber, G E; Fuss, F K; Egger, G; Stanek, G; Hittmair, K M; Forstenpointner, G

    2006-01-01

    Elephant limbs display unique morphological features which are related mainly to supporting the enormous body weight of the animal. In elephants, the knee joint plays important roles in weight bearing and locomotion, but anatomical data are sparse and lacking in functional analyses. In addition, the knee joint is affected frequently by arthrosis. Here we examined structures of the knee joint by means of standard anatomical techniques in eight African (Loxodonta africana) and three Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Furthermore, we performed radiography in five African and two Asian elephants and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in one African elephant. Macerated bones of 11 individuals (four African, seven Asian elephants) were measured with a pair of callipers to give standardized measurements of the articular parts. In one Asian and three African elephants, kinematic and functional analyses were carried out using a digitizer and according to the helical axis concept. Some peculiarities of healthy and arthrotic knee joints of elephants were compared with human knees. In contrast to those of other quadruped mammals, the knee joint of elephants displays an extended resting position. The femorotibial joint of elephants shows a high grade of congruency and the menisci are extremely narrow and thin. The four-bar mechanism of the cruciate ligaments exists also in the elephant. The main motion of the knee joint is extension–flexion with a range of motion of 142°. In elephants, arthrotic alterations of the knee joint can lead to injury or loss of the cranial (anterior) cruciate ligament. PMID:16420379

  16. Elephant natural history: a genomic perspective.

    PubMed

    Roca, Alfred L; Ishida, Yasuko; Brandt, Adam L; Benjamin, Neal R; Zhao, Kai; Georgiadis, Nicholas J

    2015-01-01

    We review DNA-based studies of elephants and recently extinct proboscideans. The evidence indicates that little or no nuclear gene flow occurs between African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) and African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis), establishing that they comprise separate species. In all elephant species, males disperse, whereas females remain with their natal social group, leading to discordance in the phylogeography of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA patterns. Improvements in ancient DNA methods have permitted sequences to be generated from an increasing number of proboscidean fossils and have definitively established that the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) is the closest living relative of the extinct woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius). DNA-based methods have been developed to determine the geographic provenance of confiscated ivory in an effort to aid the conservation of elephants.

  17. Population Genomics of sub-saharan Drosophila melanogaster: African diversity and non-African admixture.

    PubMed

    Pool, John E; Corbett-Detig, Russell B; Sugino, Ryuichi P; Stevens, Kristian A; Cardeno, Charis M; Crepeau, Marc W; Duchen, Pablo; Emerson, J J; Saelao, Perot; Begun, David J; Langley, Charles H

    2012-01-01

    Drosophila melanogaster has played a pivotal role in the development of modern population genetics. However, many basic questions regarding the demographic and adaptive history of this species remain unresolved. We report the genome sequencing of 139 wild-derived strains of D. melanogaster, representing 22 population samples from the sub-Saharan ancestral range of this species, along with one European population. Most genomes were sequenced above 25X depth from haploid embryos. Results indicated a pervasive influence of non-African admixture in many African populations, motivating the development and application of a novel admixture detection method. Admixture proportions varied among populations, with greater admixture in urban locations. Admixture levels also varied across the genome, with localized peaks and valleys suggestive of a non-neutral introgression process. Genomes from the same location differed starkly in ancestry, suggesting that isolation mechanisms may exist within African populations. After removing putatively admixed genomic segments, the greatest genetic diversity was observed in southern Africa (e.g. Zambia), while diversity in other populations was largely consistent with a geographic expansion from this potentially ancestral region. The European population showed different levels of diversity reduction on each chromosome arm, and some African populations displayed chromosome arm-specific diversity reductions. Inversions in the European sample were associated with strong elevations in diversity across chromosome arms. Genomic scans were conducted to identify loci that may represent targets of positive selection within an African population, between African populations, and between European and African populations. A disproportionate number of candidate selective sweep regions were located near genes with varied roles in gene regulation. Outliers for Europe-Africa F(ST) were found to be enriched in genomic regions of locally elevated

  18. Population differentiation in the context of Holocene climate change for a migratory marine species, the southern elephant seal.

    PubMed

    Corrigan, L J; Fabiani, A; Chauke, L F; McMahon, C R; de Bruyn, M; Bester, M N; Bastos, A; Campagna, C; Muelbert, M M C; Hoelzel, A R

    2016-09-01

    Understanding observed patterns of connectivity requires an understanding of the evolutionary processes that determine genetic structure among populations, with the most common models being associated with isolation by distance, allopatry or vicariance. Pinnipeds are annual breeders with the capacity for extensive range overlap during seasonal migrations, establishing the potential for the evolution of isolation by distance. Here, we assess the pattern of differentiation among six breeding colonies of the southern elephant seal, Mirounga leonina, based on mtDNA and 15 neutral microsatellite DNA markers, and consider measures of their demography and connectivity. We show that all breeding colonies are genetically divergent and that connectivity in this highly mobile pinniped is not strongly associated with geographic distance, but more likely linked to Holocene climate change and demographic processes. Estimates of divergence times between populations were all after the last glacial maximum, and there was evidence for directional migration in a clockwise pattern (with the prevailing current) around the Antarctic. We discuss the mechanisms by which climate change may have contributed to the contemporary genetic structure of southern elephant seal populations and the broader implications.

  19. Apparent variation in Neanderthal admixture among African populations is consistent with gene flow from Non-African populations.

    PubMed

    Wang, Shuoguo; Lachance, Joseph; Tishkoff, Sarah A; Hey, Jody; Xing, Jinchuan

    2013-01-01

    Recent studies have found evidence of introgression from Neanderthals into modern humans outside of sub-Saharan Africa. Given the geographic range of Neanderthals, the findings have been interpreted as evidence of gene exchange between Neanderthals and modern humans descended from the Out-of-Africa (OOA) migration. Here, we examine an alternative interpretation in which the introgression occurred earlier within Africa, between ancestors or relatives of Neanderthals and a subset of African modern humans who were the ancestors of those involved in the OOA migration. Under the alternative model, if the population structure among present-day Africans predates the OOA migration, we might find some African populations show a signal of Neanderthal introgression whereas others do not. To test this alternative model, we compiled a whole-genome data set including 38 sub-Saharan Africans from eight populations and 25 non-African individuals from five populations. We assessed differences in the amount of Neanderthal-like single-nucleotide polymorphism alleles among these populations and observed up to 1.5% difference in the number of Neanderthal-like alleles among African populations. Further analyses suggest that these differences are likely due to recent non-African admixture in these populations. After accounting for recent non-African admixture, our results do not support the alternative model of older (e.g., >100 kya) admixture between modern humans and Neanderthal-like hominids within Africa.

  20. Elephants and Their Young: Science and Math Activities for Young Children. Teacher's Guide.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Echols, Jean C.; Kopp, Jaine; Blinderman, Ellen

    This book contains a series of playful activities in which young children actively learn about the African elephant's body structure, family life, and social behavior. Children make model elephants out of paper and cardboard, then devise elephant puppets with sock trunks as well as create models of elephant's ears, trunks, tusks, make elephant…

  1. Elephant Management in North American Zoos: Environmental Enrichment, Feeding, Exercise, and Training

    PubMed Central

    Greco, Brian J.; Meehan, Cheryl L.; Miller, Lance J.; Shepherdson, David J.; Morfeld, Kari A.; Andrews, Jeff; Baker, Anne M.; Carlstead, Kathy; Mench, Joy A.

    2016-01-01

    The management of African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants in zoos involves a range of practices including feeding, exercise, training, and environmental enrichment. These practices are necessary to meet the elephants’ nutritional, healthcare, and husbandry needs. However, these practices are not standardized, resulting in likely variation among zoos as well as differences in the way they are applied to individual elephants within a zoo. To characterize elephant management in North America, we collected survey data from zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, developed 26 variables, generated population level descriptive statistics, and analyzed them to identify differences attributable to sex and species. Sixty-seven zoos submitted surveys describing the management of 224 elephants and the training experiences of 227 elephants. Asian elephants spent more time managed (defined as interacting directly with staff) than Africans (mean time managed: Asians = 56.9%; Africans = 48.6%; p<0.001), and managed time increased by 20.2% for every year of age for both species. Enrichment, feeding, and exercise programs were evaluated using diversity indices, with mean scores across zoos in the midrange for these measures. There were an average of 7.2 feedings every 24-hour period, with only 1.2 occurring during the nighttime. Feeding schedules were predictable at 47.5% of zoos. We also calculated the relative use of rewarding and aversive techniques employed during training interactions. The population median was seven on a scale from one (representing only aversive stimuli) to nine (representing only rewarding stimuli). The results of our study provide essential information for understanding management variation that could be relevant to welfare. Furthermore, the variables we created have been used in subsequent elephant welfare analyses. PMID:27414654

  2. Genomic inferences from Afrotheria and the evolution of elephants.

    PubMed

    Roca, Alfred L; O'Brien, Stephen J

    2005-12-01

    Recent genetic studies have established that African forest and savanna elephants are distinct species with dissociated cytonuclear genomic patterns, and have identified Asian elephants from Borneo and Sumatra as conservation priorities. Representative of Afrotheria, a superordinal clade encompassing six eutherian orders, the African savanna elephant was among the first mammals chosen for whole-genome sequencing to provide a comparative understanding of the human genome. Elephants have large and complex brains and display advanced levels of social structure, communication, learning and intelligence. The elephant genome sequence might prove useful for comparative genomic studies of these advanced traits, which have appeared independently in only three mammalian orders: primates, cetaceans and proboscideans.

  3. Environmental Perturbations, Behavioral Change, and Population Response in a Long-term Northern Elephant Seal Study

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2010-09-30

    Nicholas Island and Piedras Blancas. A team of three researchers, Autumn-Lynn Harrison, Nikky Teutschel, and Greg Breed, conducted resights at San...Nicholas Island. Pat Morris conducted resights at Piedras Blancas. Both surveys occurred January 29-February 1, 2010. RESULTS Analysis of shouthern...had not seen an elephant seal with a green flipper tag in 20 years of observations. Of the 55 tags detected on females at Piedras Blancas, eight

  4. Identifying source populations and genetic structure for savannah elephants in human-dominated landscapes and protected areas in the Kenya-Tanzania borderlands.

    PubMed

    Ahlering, Marissa A; Eggert, Lori S; Western, David; Estes, Anna; Munishi, Linus; Fleischer, Robert; Roberts, Melissa; Maldonado, Jesus E

    2012-01-01

    We investigated the genetic metapopulation structure of elephants across the trans Rift Valley region of Kenya and Tanzania, one of the remaining strongholds for savannah elephants (Loxodonata africana) in East Africa, using microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) markers. We then examined this population structure to determine the source population for a recent colonization event of savannah elephants on community-owned land within the trans rift valley region. Four of the five sampled populations showed significant genetic differentiation (p<0.05) as measured with both mtDNA haplotypes and microsatellites. Only the samples from the adjacent Maasai Mara and Serengeti ecosystems showed no significant differentiation. A phylogenetic neighbour-joining tree constructed from mtDNA haplotypes detected four clades. Clade four corresponds to the F clade of previous mtDNA studies that reported to have originated in forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) but to also be present in some savannah elephant populations. The split between clade four and the other three clades corresponded strongly to the geographic distribution of mtDNA haplotypes across the rift valley in the study area. Clade four was the dominant clade detected on the west side of the rift valley with rare occurrences on the east side. Finally, the strong patterns of population differentiation clearly indicated that the recent colonists to the community-owned land in Kenya came from the west side of the rift valley. Our results indicate strong female philopatry within the isolated populations of the trans rift valley region, with gene flow primarily mediated via male movements. The recent colonization event from Maasai Mara or Serengeti suggests there is hope for maintaining connectivity and population viability outside formal protected areas in the region.

  5. Identifying Source Populations and Genetic Structure for Savannah Elephants in Human-Dominated Landscapes and Protected Areas in the Kenya-Tanzania Borderlands

    PubMed Central

    Ahlering, Marissa A.; Eggert, Lori S.; Western, David; Estes, Anna; Munishi, Linus; Fleischer, Robert; Roberts, Melissa; Maldonado, Jesus E.

    2012-01-01

    We investigated the genetic metapopulation structure of elephants across the trans Rift Valley region of Kenya and Tanzania, one of the remaining strongholds for savannah elephants (Loxodonata africana) in East Africa, using microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) markers. We then examined this population structure to determine the source population for a recent colonization event of savannah elephants on community-owned land within the trans rift valley region. Four of the five sampled populations showed significant genetic differentiation (p<0.05) as measured with both mtDNA haplotypes and microsatellites. Only the samples from the adjacent Maasai Mara and Serengeti ecosystems showed no significant differentiation. A phylogenetic neighbour-joining tree constructed from mtDNA haplotypes detected four clades. Clade four corresponds to the F clade of previous mtDNA studies that reported to have originated in forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) but to also be present in some savannah elephant populations. The split between clade four and the other three clades corresponded strongly to the geographic distribution of mtDNA haplotypes across the rift valley in the study area. Clade four was the dominant clade detected on the west side of the rift valley with rare occurrences on the east side. Finally, the strong patterns of population differentiation clearly indicated that the recent colonists to the community-owned land in Kenya came from the west side of the rift valley. Our results indicate strong female philopatry within the isolated populations of the trans rift valley region, with gene flow primarily mediated via male movements. The recent colonization event from Maasai Mara or Serengeti suggests there is hope for maintaining connectivity and population viability outside formal protected areas in the region. PMID:23300634

  6. Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus), Pig-Tailed Macaque (Macaca nemestrina) and Tiger (Panthera tigris) Populations at Tourism Venues in Thailand and Aspects of Their Welfare

    PubMed Central

    Schmidt-Burbach, Jan; Ronfot, Delphine; Srisangiam, Rossukon

    2015-01-01

    This study focused on determining the size and welfare aspects of Asian elephant, pig-tailed macaque and tiger populations at facilities open to tourists in Thailand. Data were gathered from 118 venues through direct observations and interviews with staff. A score sheet-based welfare assessment was used to calculate scores between 1 and 10, indicating each venue’s welfare situation. Factors such as freedom of movement for the animals, access to veterinary care, environmental noise quality, hygiene standards and work intensity were included in the score sheet. 1688 elephants, 371 macaques and 621 tigers were found at the venues. 89 venues exclusively kept elephants, 9 designated ‘Monkey schools’ offered macaque shows, 4 venues kept primarily tigers, mostly for petting and photo opportunities, and the remaining venues kept a mix of these animals. A strong imbalance in female to male gender ratios was recorded with about 4:1 for adult elephants and 1:4 for adult macaques. Severely inadequate welfare conditions were common, with 75% of macaques and 99% of tigers being kept at venues with scores less than 5. 86% of elephants were kept in inadequate conditions at venues with scores between 3 and 5, but a significant number of venues with scores above 5 were found. 4.6% of elephants were provided commendable conditions, reaching assessment scores of 8 and above. 71% of venues did not offer any sort of education about animals to visitors. This study is the first to assess welfare aspects of captive wild animals at tourism venues across Thailand. It concludes that significant concerns exist about the welfare of wild animals in the tourism sector of Thailand. Urgent attention needs to be given to address these concerns and prevent further suffering. But also to ensure the demand for wild animals doesn’t have a negative impact on wild populations. PMID:26407173

  7. Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus), Pig-Tailed Macaque (Macaca nemestrina) and Tiger (Panthera tigris) Populations at Tourism Venues in Thailand and Aspects of Their Welfare.

    PubMed

    Schmidt-Burbach, Jan; Ronfot, Delphine; Srisangiam, Rossukon

    2015-01-01

    This study focused on determining the size and welfare aspects of Asian elephant, pig-tailed macaque and tiger populations at facilities open to tourists in Thailand. Data were gathered from 118 venues through direct observations and interviews with staff. A score sheet-based welfare assessment was used to calculate scores between 1 and 10, indicating each venue's welfare situation. Factors such as freedom of movement for the animals, access to veterinary care, environmental noise quality, hygiene standards and work intensity were included in the score sheet. 1688 elephants, 371 macaques and 621 tigers were found at the venues. 89 venues exclusively kept elephants, 9 designated 'Monkey schools' offered macaque shows, 4 venues kept primarily tigers, mostly for petting and photo opportunities, and the remaining venues kept a mix of these animals. A strong imbalance in female to male gender ratios was recorded with about 4:1 for adult elephants and 1:4 for adult macaques. Severely inadequate welfare conditions were common, with 75% of macaques and 99% of tigers being kept at venues with scores less than 5. 86% of elephants were kept in inadequate conditions at venues with scores between 3 and 5, but a significant number of venues with scores above 5 were found. 4.6% of elephants were provided commendable conditions, reaching assessment scores of 8 and above. 71% of venues did not offer any sort of education about animals to visitors. This study is the first to assess welfare aspects of captive wild animals at tourism venues across Thailand. It concludes that significant concerns exist about the welfare of wild animals in the tourism sector of Thailand. Urgent attention needs to be given to address these concerns and prevent further suffering. But also to ensure the demand for wild animals doesn't have a negative impact on wild populations.

  8. Genetic diversity and conservation of South African indigenous chicken populations.

    PubMed

    Mtileni, B J; Muchadeyi, F C; Maiwashe, A; Groeneveld, E; Groeneveld, L F; Dzama, K; Weigend, S

    2011-06-01

    In this study, we compare the level and distribution of genetic variation between South African conserved and village chicken populations using microsatellite markers. In addition, diversity in South African chickens was compared to that of a reference data set consisting of other African and purebred commercial lines. Three chicken populations Venda, Ovambo and Eastern Cape and four conserved flocks of the Venda, Ovambo, Naked Neck and Potchefstroom Koekoek from the Poultry Breeding Resource Unit of the Agricultural Research Council were genotyped at 29 autosomal microsatellite loci. All markers were polymorphic. Village chicken populations were more diverse than conservation flocks. structure software was used to cluster individuals to a predefined number of 2 ≤ K ≤ 6 clusters. The most probable clustering was found at K = 5 (95% identical runs). At this level of differentiation, the four conservation flocks separated as four independent clusters, while the three village chicken populations together formed another cluster. Thus, cluster analysis indicated a clear subdivision of each of the conservation flocks that were different from the three village chicken populations. The contribution of each South African chicken populations to the total diversity of the chickens studied was determined by calculating the optimal core set contributions based on Marker estimated kinship. Safe set analysis was carried out using bootstrapped kinship values calculated to relate the added genetic diversity of seven South African chicken populations to a set of reference populations consisting of other African and purebred commercial broiler and layer chickens. In both core set and the safe set analyses, village chicken populations scored slightly higher to the reference set compared to conservation flocks. Overall, the present study demonstrated that the conservation flocks of South African chickens displayed considerable genetic variability that is different from that of the

  9. Elephant resource-use traditions.

    PubMed

    Fishlock, Victoria; Caldwell, Christine; Lee, Phyllis C

    2016-03-01

    African elephants (Loxodonta africana) use unusual and restricted habitats such as swampy clearings, montane outcrops and dry rivers for a variety of social and ecological reasons. Within these habitats, elephants focus on very specific areas for resource exploitation, resulting in deep caves, large forest clearings and sand pits as well as long-established and highly demarcated routes for moving between resources. We review evidence for specific habitat exploitation in elephants and suggest that this represents socially learned cultural behaviour. Although elephants show high fidelity to precise locations over the very long term, these location preferences are explained neither by resource quality nor by accessibility. Acquiring techniques for exploiting specific resource sites requires observing conspecifics and practice and is evidence for social learning. Elephants possess sophisticated cognitive capacities used to track relationships and resources over their long lifespans, and they have an extended period of juvenile dependency as a result of the need to acquire this considerable social and ecological knowledge. Thus, elephant fidelity to particular sites results in traditional behaviour over generations, with the potential to weaken relationships between resource quality and site preferences. Illustrating the evidence for such powerful traditions in a species such as elephants contributes to understanding animal cognition in natural contexts.

  10. Long-Term Monitoring of Dzanga Bai Forest Elephants: Forest Clearing Use Patterns

    PubMed Central

    Turkalo, Andrea K.; Wrege, Peter H.; Wittemyer, George

    2013-01-01

    Individual identification of the relatively cryptic forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) at forest clearings currently provides the highest quality monitoring data on this ecologically important but increasingly threatened species. Here we present baseline data from the first 20 years of an individually based study of this species, conducted at the Dzanga Clearing, Central African Republic. A total of 3,128 elephants were identified over the 20-year study (1,244 adults; 675 females, 569 males). It took approximately four years for the majority of elephants visiting the clearing to be identified, but new elephants entered the clearing every year of the study. The study population was relatively stable, varying from 1,668 to 1,864 individuals (including juveniles and infants), with increasingly fewer males than females over time. The age-class distribution for females remained qualitatively unchanged between 1995 and 2010, while the proportion of adult males decreased from 20% to 10%, likely reflecting increased mortality. Visitation patterns by individuals were highly variable, with some elephants visiting monthly while others were ephemeral users with visits separated by multiple years. The number of individuals in the clearing at any time varied between 40 and 100 individuals, and there was little evidence of a seasonal pattern in this variation. The number of elephants entering the clearing together (defined here as a social group) averaged 1.49 (range 1–12) for males and 2.67 (range 1–14) for females. This collation of 20 years of intensive forest elephant monitoring provides the first detailed, long term look at the ecology of bai visitation for this species, offering insight to the ecological significance and motivation for bai use, social behavior, and threats to forest elephants. We discuss likely drivers (rainfall, compression, illegal killing, etc.) influencing bai visitation rates. This study provides the baseline for future demographic and behavioral

  11. Does diet influence salivary enzyme activities in elephant species?

    PubMed

    Boehlke, Carolin; Pötschke, Sandra; Behringer, Verena; Hannig, Christian; Zierau, Oliver

    2017-01-01

    Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are herbivore generalists; however, Asian elephants might ingest a higher proportion of grasses than Africans. Although some studies have investigated nutrition-specific morphological adaptations of the two species, broader studies on salivary enzymes in both elephant species are lacking. This study focuses on the comparison of salivary enzymes activity profiles in the two elephant species; these enzymes are relevant for protective and digestive functions in humans. We aimed to determine whether salivary amylase (sAA), lysozyme (sLYS), and peroxidase (sPOD) activities have changed in a species-specific pattern during evolutionary separation of the elephant genera. Saliva samples of 14 Asian and eight African elephants were collected in three German zoos. Results show that sAA and sLYS are salivary components of both elephant species in an active conformation. In contrast, little to no sPOD activity was determined in any elephant sample. Furthermore, sAA activity was significantly higher in Asian compared with African elephants. sLYS and sPOD showed no species-specific differences. The time of food provision until sample collection affected only sAA activity. In summary, the results suggest several possible factors modulating the activity of the mammal-typical enzymes, such as sAA, sLYS, and sPOD, e.g., nutrition and sampling procedure, which have to be considered when analyzing differences in saliva composition of animal species.

  12. East African cheetahs: evidence for two population bottlenecks?

    PubMed

    O'Brien, S J; Wildt, D E; Bush, M; Caro, T M; FitzGibbon, C; Aggundey, I; Leakey, R E

    1987-01-01

    A combined population genetic and reproductive analysis was undertaken to compare free-ranging cheetahs from east Africa (Acinonyx jubatus raineyi) with the genetically impoverished and reproductively impaired south African subspecies (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus). Like that of their south African counterparts, the quality of semen specimens from east African cheetahs was poor, with a low concentration of spermatozoa (25.3 X 10(6) per ejaculate) and a high incidence of morphological abnormalities (79%). From an electrophoretic survey of the products of 49 genetic loci in A. jubatus raineyi, two allozyme polymorphisms were detected; one of these, for a nonspecific esterase, shows an allele that is rare (less than 1% incidence) in south African specimens. Estimates of polymorphism (2-4%) and average heterozygosity (0.0004-0.014) affirm the cheetah as the least genetically variable felid species. The genetic distance between south and east African cheetahs was low (0.004), suggesting that the development of genetic uniformity preceded the recent geographic isolation of the subspecies. We propose that at least two population bottlenecks followed by inbreeding produced the modern cheetah species. The first and most extreme was ancient, possibly late Pleistocene (circa 10,000 years ago); the second was more recent (within the last century) and led to the south African populations.

  13. East African cheetahs: evidence for two population bottlenecks?

    PubMed Central

    O'Brien, S J; Wildt, D E; Bush, M; Caro, T M; FitzGibbon, C; Aggundey, I; Leakey, R E

    1987-01-01

    A combined population genetic and reproductive analysis was undertaken to compare free-ranging cheetahs from east Africa (Acinonyx jubatus raineyi) with the genetically impoverished and reproductively impaired south African subspecies (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus). Like that of their south African counterparts, the quality of semen specimens from east African cheetahs was poor, with a low concentration of spermatozoa (25.3 X 10(6) per ejaculate) and a high incidence of morphological abnormalities (79%). From an electrophoretic survey of the products of 49 genetic loci in A. jubatus raineyi, two allozyme polymorphisms were detected; one of these, for a nonspecific esterase, shows an allele that is rare (less than 1% incidence) in south African specimens. Estimates of polymorphism (2-4%) and average heterozygosity (0.0004-0.014) affirm the cheetah as the least genetically variable felid species. The genetic distance between south and east African cheetahs was low (0.004), suggesting that the development of genetic uniformity preceded the recent geographic isolation of the subspecies. We propose that at least two population bottlenecks followed by inbreeding produced the modern cheetah species. The first and most extreme was ancient, possibly late Pleistocene (circa 10,000 years ago); the second was more recent (within the last century) and led to the south African populations. PMID:3467370

  14. Beehive fences as a multidimensional conflict-mitigation tool for farmers coexisting with elephants.

    PubMed

    King, Lucy E; Lala, Fredrick; Nzumu, Hesron; Mwambingu, Emmanuel; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain

    2017-02-21

    Increasing habitat fragmentation and human population growth in Africa has resulted in an escalation in human-elephant conflict between small-scale farmers and free-ranging African elephants (Loxodonta Africana). In 2012 Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) implemented the national 10-year Conservation and Management Strategy for the Elephant in Kenya, which includes an action aimed at testing whether beehive fences can be used to mitigate human-elephant conflict. From 2012 to 2015, we field-tested the efficacy of beehive fences to protect 10 0.4-ha farms next to Tsavo East National Park from elephants. We hung a series of beehives every 10 m around the boundary of each farm plot. The hives were linked with strong wire. After an initial pilot test with 2 farms, the remaining 8 of 10 beehive fences also contained 2-dimensional dummy hives between real beehives to help reduce the cost of the fence. Each trial plot had a neighboring control plot of the same size within the same farm. Of the 131 beehives deployed 88% were occupied at least once during the 3.5-year trial. Two hundred and fifty-three elephants, predominantly 20-45 years old entered the community farming area, typically during the crop- ripening season. Eighty percent of the elephants that approached the trial farms were kept out of the areas protected by the beehive fences, and elephants that broke a fence were in smaller than average groups. Beehive fences not only kept large groups of elephants from invading the farmland plots but the farmers also benefited socially and financially from the sale of 228 kg of elephant-friendly honey. As news of the success of the trial spread, a further 12 farmers requested to join the project, bringing the number of beehive fence protected farms to 22 and beehives to 297. This demonstrates positive adoption of beehive fences as a community mitigation tool. Understanding the response of elephants to the beehive fences, the seasonality of crop raiding and fence breaking, and the

  15. Polymorphic Alu insertions in six Brazilian African-derived populations.

    PubMed

    Cotrim, Nelson Henderson; Auricchio, Maria Teresa B M; Vicente, João Pedro; Otto, Paulo A; Mingroni-Netto, Regina Célia

    2004-01-01

    At least 25 African-derived populations (quilombo remnants) are believed to exist in the Ribeira River Valley, located in the southern part of São Paulo State, Brazil. We studied four Alu polymorphic loci (APO, ACE, TPA25, and FXIIIB) in individuals belonging to six quilombo remnants in addition to individuals sampled from the city of São Paulo. The allelic frequencies observed in the quilombo remnants were similar to those previously observed in African-derived populations from Central and North America. Genetic variability indexes (Fst and Gst values) in our quilombos were higher than the reported values for the majority of other populations analyzed for the same kind of markers, but lower than the variability usually observed in Amerindian groups. The observed high degree of genetic differentiation may be due to genetic drift, especially the founder effect. Our results suggest that these populations behave genetically as semi-isolates. The degree of genetic variability within populations was larger than among them, a finding described in other studies. In the neighbor-joining tree, some of the Brazilian quilombos clustered with the African and African-derived populations (São Pedro and Galvão), others with the Europeans (Pilões, Maria Rosa, and Abobral). Pedro Cubas was placed in an isolated branch. Principal component analysis was also performed and confirmed the trends observed in the neighbor-joining tree. Overall, the quilombos showed a higher degree of gene flow than average when compared to other worldwide populations, but similar to other African-derived populations.

  16. Extreme expansion of the olfactory receptor gene repertoire in African elephants and evolutionary dynamics of orthologous gene groups in 13 placental mammals

    PubMed Central

    Matsui, Atsushi; Touhara, Kazushige

    2014-01-01

    Olfactory receptors (ORs) detect odors in the environment, and OR genes constitute the largest multigene family in mammals. Numbers of OR genes vary greatly among species—reflecting the respective species' lifestyles—and this variation is caused by frequent gene gains and losses during evolution. However, whether the extent of gene gains/losses varies among individual gene lineages and what might generate such variation is unknown. To answer these questions, we used a newly developed phylogeny-based method to classify >10,000 intact OR genes from 13 placental mammal species into 781 orthologous gene groups (OGGs); we then compared the OGGs. Interestingly, African elephants had a surprisingly large repertoire (∼2000) of functional OR genes encoded in enlarged gene clusters. Additionally, OR gene lineages that experienced more gene duplication had weaker purifying selection, and Class II OR genes have evolved more dynamically than those in Class I. Some OGGs were highly expanded in a lineage-specific manner, while only three OGGs showed complete one-to-one orthology among the 13 species without any gene gains/losses. These three OGGs also exhibited highly conserved amino acid sequences; therefore, ORs in these OGGs may have physiologically important functions common to every placental mammal. This study provides a basis for inferring OR functions from evolutionary trajectory. PMID:25053675

  17. Extreme expansion of the olfactory receptor gene repertoire in African elephants and evolutionary dynamics of orthologous gene groups in 13 placental mammals.

    PubMed

    Niimura, Yoshihito; Matsui, Atsushi; Touhara, Kazushige

    2014-09-01

    Olfactory receptors (ORs) detect odors in the environment, and OR genes constitute the largest multigene family in mammals. Numbers of OR genes vary greatly among species--reflecting the respective species' lifestyles--and this variation is caused by frequent gene gains and losses during evolution. However, whether the extent of gene gains/losses varies among individual gene lineages and what might generate such variation is unknown. To answer these questions, we used a newly developed phylogeny-based method to classify >10,000 intact OR genes from 13 placental mammal species into 781 orthologous gene groups (OGGs); we then compared the OGGs. Interestingly, African elephants had a surprisingly large repertoire (∼ 2000) of functional OR genes encoded in enlarged gene clusters. Additionally, OR gene lineages that experienced more gene duplication had weaker purifying selection, and Class II OR genes have evolved more dynamically than those in Class I. Some OGGs were highly expanded in a lineage-specific manner, while only three OGGs showed complete one-to-one orthology among the 13 species without any gene gains/losses. These three OGGs also exhibited highly conserved amino acid sequences; therefore, ORs in these OGGs may have physiologically important functions common to every placental mammal. This study provides a basis for inferring OR functions from evolutionary trajectory.

  18. Expression of human cell cycle regulators in the primary cell line of the African savannah elephant (loxodonta africana) increases proliferation until senescence, but does not induce immortalization.

    PubMed

    Fukuda, Tomokazu; Iino, Yuuka; Onuma, Manabu; Gen, Bando; Inoue-Murayama, Miho; Kiyono, Tohru

    2016-01-01

    The African savannah elephant (Loxodonta africana) is one of the critically endangered animals. Conservation of genetic and cellular resources is important for the promotion of wild life-related research. Although primary cultured cells are a useful model for the physiology and genomics of the wild-type animals, their distribution is restricted due to the limited number of cell divisions allowed in them. Here, we tried to immortalize a primary cell line of L. africana with by overexpressing human mutant form of cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4R24C), cyclin D, and telomerase (TERT). It has been shown before that the combination of human CDK4R24C, cyclin D, and TERT induces the efficient cellular immortalization of cells derived from humans, bovine, swine, and monkeys. Interestingly, although the combination of these three genes extended the cellular proliferation of the L. africana-derived cells, they did not induce cellular immortalization. This study suggest that control of cellular senescence in L. africana-derived cells would be different molecular mechanisms compared to those governing human, bovine, swine, and monkey cells.

  19. Structure and presumptive function of the iridocorneal angle of the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus), hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), and African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Hatfield, Jessie R; Samuelson, Don A; Lewis, Patricia A; Chisholm, Mae

    2003-03-01

    The iridocorneal angles of prepared eyes from the West Indian manatee, short-finned pilot whale, hippopotamus and African elephant were examined and compared using light microscopy. The manatee and pilot whale demonstrated capacity for a large amount of aqueous outflow, probably as part of a system compensating for lack of ciliary musculature, and possibly also related to environmental changes associated with life at varying depths. The elephant angle displayed many characteristics of large herbivores, but was found to have relatively low capacity for aqueous outflow via both primary and secondary routes. The hippopotamus shared characteristics with both land- and water-dwelling mammals; uveoscleral aqueous outflow may be substantial as in the marine mammals, but the angular aqueous plexus was less extensive and a robust pectinate ligament was present. The angles varied greatly in size and composition among the four species, and most structures were found to be uniquely suited to the habitat of each animal.

  20. Functional CD1d and/or NKT cell invariant chain transcript in horse, pig, African elephant and guinea pig, but not in ruminants

    PubMed Central

    Looringh van Beeck, Frank A.; Reinink, Peter; Hermsen, Roel; Zajonc, Dirk M.; Laven, Marielle J.; Fun, Axel; Troskie, Milana; Schoemaker, Nico J.; Morar, Darshana; Lenstra, Johannes A.; Vervelde, Lonneke; Rutten, Victor P.M.G.; van Eden, Willem; Van Rhijn, Ildiko

    2009-01-01

    CD1d-restricted invariant natural killer T cells (NKT cells) have been well characterized in humans and mice, but it is unknown whether they are present in other species. Here we describe the invariant TCR α chain and the full length CD1d transcript of pig and horse. Molecular modeling predicts that porcine (po) invariant TCR α chain/poCD1d/α-GalCer and equine (eq) invariant TCR α chain/eqCD1d/α-GalCer form complexes that are highly homologous to the human complex. Since a prerequisite for the presence of NKT cells is the expression of CD1d protein, we performed searches for CD1D genes and CD1d transcripts in multiple species. Previously, cattle and guinea pig have been suggested to lack CD1D genes. The CD1D genes of European taurine cattle (Bos taurus) are known to be pseudogenes because of disrupting mutations in the start codon and in the donor splice site of the first intron. Here we show that the same mutations are found in six other ruminants: African buffalo, sheep, bushbuck, bongo, N’Dama cattle, and roe deer. In contrast, intact CD1d transcripts were found in guinea pig, African elephant, horse, rabbit, and pig. Despite the discovery of a highly homologous NKT/CD1d system in pig and horse, our data suggest that functional CD1D and CD1d-restricted NKT cells are not universally present in mammals. PMID:19185921

  1. Chitotriosidase deficiency: a mutation update in an african population.

    PubMed

    Arndt, Silke; Hobbs, Angela; Sinclaire, Iain; Lane, Anthony B

    2013-01-01

    Human plasma chitotriosidase activity is a commonly used diagnostic and therapeutic biomarker for non-neuronopathic Gaucher disease. Chitotriosidase deficiency is common in non-African populations and is primarily caused by a 24 bp duplication in the encoding gene (CHIT1). Allele frequencies for the 24 bp duplication range from 20-50 % outside Africa. The present study found chitotriosidase deficiency to be rare in the South African Black population (1.6 %) and the otherwise common 24 bp duplication is absent in this African population. Instead, chitotriosidase deficiency is caused by a 4 bp deletion across the exon/intron 10 boundary (E/I-10_delGAgt) of the CHIT1 gene. The exact position of this mutation was found to differ from the previously reported location. Allele frequencies for six coding variants of CHIT1 (p.G102S, p.G354R, 24 bp duplication, E/I-10_delGAgt, p.A442V/G) were determined and the 4 bp deletion was found to be in complete linkage disequilibrium (LD) with two of the coding variants (p.G354R and p.A442V). The in silico assessments of the two missense mutations in LD predict a protein-damaging nature and functional studies are needed to clarify if one or both abolish the enzyme's activity. Overall, the low frequency of chitotriosidase deficiency in South African Blacks makes chitotriosidase activity an excellent biomarker of choice in this population.

  2. Intellectual Disability in the Context of a South African Population

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kromberg, Jennifer; Zwane, Esther; Manga, Prashiela; Venter, Andre; Rosen, Eric; Christianson, Arnold

    2008-01-01

    Childhood disabilities, including intellectual disabilities (ID), are thought to occur in 5-17% of children in developing countries around the world. In order to identify and describe the childhood disabilities occurring in a rural South African population, as well as the context in which they occur, a study was carried out in the Bushbuckridge…

  3. Fostering Healthy Lifestyles in the African American Population

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Murimi, Mary; Chrisman, Matthew S.; McAllister, Tiffany; McDonald, Olevia D.

    2015-01-01

    Approximately 8.3% of the U.S. population (25.8 million people) is affected by type 2 diabetes. The burden of diabetes is disproportionately greater in the African American community. Compared with non-Hispanic Caucasian adults, the risk of diagnosed type 2 diabetes was 77% higher among non-Hispanic Blacks, who are 27% more likely to die of…

  4. Third African Population Conference. Dakar / Ngor Declaration on Population, Family and Sustainable Development.

    PubMed

    1994-01-01

    The Third African Population Conference was held in Dakar over the period December 7-12, 1992, on the theme of population, family, and sustainable development. The conference examined the implementation of the Kilimanjaro Program of Action for African Population and Self-Reliant Development, the African family in the context of socioeconomic development, strategies for sustainable development, emerging population problems and new orientations and strategies, and population policies and programs in Africa. The Dakar/Ngor Declaration on Population, Family, and Sustainable Development was adopted and is presented in the following sections: preamble; principles and objectives; recommendations for population, sustained economic growth, sustainable development, family, fertility and family planning, mortality, morbidity, AIDS, urbanization, migration, physical planning, refugees and displaced persons, women in development, children, youth, data collection and analysis, information dissemination, training and research, and information, education and communication; resource mobilization; and follow-up and implementation.

  5. Human African trypanosomiasis in endemic populations and travellers.

    PubMed

    Blum, J A; Neumayr, A L; Hatz, C F

    2012-06-01

    Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) or sleeping sickness is caused by the protozoan parasites Trypanosoma brucei (T.b.) gambiense (West African form) and T.b. rhodesiense (East African form) that are transmitted by the bite of the tsetse fly, Glossina spp.. Whereas most patients in endemic populations are infected with T.b. gambiense, most tourists are infected with T.b. rhodesiense. In endemic populations, T.b. gambiense HAT is characterized by chronic and intermittent fever, headache, pruritus, and lymphadenopathy in the first stage and by sleep disturbances and neuro-psychiatric disorders in the second stage. Recent descriptions of the clinical presentation of T.b. rhodesiense in endemic populations show a high variability in different foci. The symptomatology of travellers is markedly different from the usual textbook descriptions of African HAT patients. The onset of both infections is almost invariably an acute and febrile disease. Diagnosis and treatment are difficult and rely mostly on old methods and drugs. However, new molecular diagnostic technologies are under development. A promising new drug combination is currently evaluated in a phase 3 b study and further new drugs are under evaluation.

  6. How many rumbles are there? Acoustic variation and individual identity in the rumble vocalizations of African elephants (Loxodonta africana)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Soltis, Joseph M.; Savage, Anne; Leong, Kirsten M.

    2004-05-01

    The most commonly occurring elephant vocalization is the rumble, a frequency-modulated call with infrasonic components. Upwards of ten distinct rumble subtypes have been proposed, but little quantitative work on the acoustic properties of rumbles has been conducted. Rumble vocalizations (N=269) from six females housed at Disney's Animal Kingdom were analyzed. Vocalizations were recorded from microphones in collars around subject necks, and rumbles were digitized and measured using SIGNAL software. Sixteen acoustic variables were measured for each call, extracting both source and filter features. Multidimensional scaling analysis indicates that there are no acoustically distinct rumble subtypes, but that there is quantitative variation across rumbles. Discriminant function analysis showed that the acoustic characteristics of rumbles differ across females. A classification success rate of 65% was achieved when assigning unselected rumbles to one of the six females (test set =64 calls) according to the functions derived from the originally selected calls (training set =205 calls). The rumble is best viewed as a single call type with graded variation, but information regarding individual identity is encoded in female rumbles.

  7. Asymmetric introgression of African genes in honeybee populations (Apis mellifera L.) in Central Mexico.

    PubMed

    Kraus, F B; Franck, P; Vandame, R

    2007-08-01

    The Africanization of the honeybee (Apis mellifera) in South America is one of the most spectacular examples of biological invasions. In this study, we analyzed the Africanization process in Central Mexico along an altitudinal transect from 72 to 2800 m, using both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA markers. The mitochondrial analysis revealed that the two high-altitude populations had a significantly greater percentage of African mitotypes (95%) than the three lowland populations (67%), indicating successful spreading of Africanized swarms to these altitudes. All populations (highland and lowland) had a similar overall proportion of African alleles at nuclear loci (58%). Thus, all populations showed an asymmetric introgression of African nuclear and mtDNA. Colonies with African mitotypes had, on average, significantly more African nuclear alleles (60%) than those with European mitotypes (51%). Furthermore, the three lowland populations showed clear signs of linkage disequilibrium, while the two high-altitude populations did not, indicating recent genetic introgression events into the lowland populations.

  8. Population affinities of African Colombians to Sub-Saharan Africans based on dental morphology.

    PubMed

    Delgado-Burbano, M E

    2007-01-01

    The Atlantic slave trade moved more than 13 million Africans to American lands between the 15th and 19th centuries. Previous historical, linguistic, and social-cultural studies suggested a Western-Central Bantu African origin for the Colombian slaves; however, their precise provenance remains unclear. The present study investigates the variation of the epigenetic dental traits in the deciduous and permanent dentition and phenotypic affinities of a contemporary Afro-Colombian community (n=178) in an attempt to identify their possible African ancestors. The results of a multivariate analysis of principal components show that Afro-descendents from Guapi have strong phenotypic relationships with several Bantu-speakers groups of Western and Western-Central Africa (Sub-Saharan region), specifically from Gabon, Congo, Pygmies, Nigeria, Cameroon, Togo and Benin. In concordance with recent mtDNA studies, this research suggests a distant but important relationship between Afro-Colombians and Eastern and South-Eastern African populations. This analysis also shows a marked dental divergence with North African samples. The dental information is not very different from the cultural, linguistic and historic data; however, it is more in agreement with studies based on molecular variation. In addition, this study reveals that African-Americans from North America, Central America-Caribbean and South America have high biological variation essentially identical to their several Sub-Saharan sources. Although a microevolutionary model, based on differential rates of gene flow with Native American and European-American groups and little selective pressures influence, better explains the phenotypic variation observed, more African-American dental samples must be analyzed from a regional perspective.

  9. The genetics of East African populations: a Nilo-Saharan component in the African genetic landscape

    PubMed Central

    Dobon, Begoña; Hassan, Hisham Y.; Laayouni, Hafid; Luisi, Pierre; Ricaño-Ponce, Isis; Zhernakova, Alexandra; Wijmenga, Cisca; Tahir, Hanan; Comas, David; Netea, Mihai G.; Bertranpetit, Jaume

    2015-01-01

    East Africa is a strategic region to study human genetic diversity due to the presence of ethnically, linguistically, and geographically diverse populations. Here, we provide new insight into the genetic history of populations living in the Sudanese region of East Africa by analysing nine ethnic groups belonging to three African linguistic families: Niger-Kordofanian, Nilo-Saharan and Afro-Asiatic. A total of 500 individuals were genotyped for 200,000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms. Principal component analysis, clustering analysis using ADMIXTURE, FST statistics, and the three-population test were used to investigate the underlying genetic structure and ancestry of the different ethno-linguistic groups. Our analyses revealed a genetic component for Sudanese Nilo-Saharan speaking groups (Darfurians and part of Nuba populations) related to Nilotes of South Sudan, but not to other Sudanese populations or other sub-Saharan populations. Populations inhabiting the North of the region showed close genetic affinities with North Africa, with a component that could be remnant of North Africans before the migrations of Arabs from Arabia. In addition, we found very low genetic distances between populations in genes important for anti-malarial and anti-bacterial host defence, suggesting similar selective pressures on these genes and stressing the importance of considering functional pathways to understand the evolutionary history of populations. PMID:26017457

  10. Elephants, fire, and frost can determine community structure and composition in Kalahari Woodlands.

    PubMed

    Holdo, Ricardo M

    2007-03-01

    Fire, elephants, and frost are important disturbance factors in many African savannas, but the relative magnitude of their effects on vegetation and their interactions have not been quantified. Understanding how disturbance shapes savanna structure and composition is critical for predicting changes in tree cover and for formulating management and conservation policy. A simulation model was used to investigate how the disturbance regime determines vegetation structure and composition in a mixed Kalahari sand woodland savanna in western Zimbabwe. The model consisted of submodels for tree growth, tree damage caused by disturbance, mortality, and recruitment that were parameterized from field data collected over a two-year period. The model predicts that, under the current disturbance regime, tree basal area in the study area will decline by two-thirds over the next two decades and become dominated by species unpalatable to elephants. Changes in the disturbance regime are predicted to greatly modify vegetation structure and community composition. Elephants are the primary drivers of woodland change in this community at present-day population densities, and their impacts are exacerbated by the effects of fire and frost. Frost, in particular, does not play an important role when acting independently but appears to be a key secondary factor in the presence of elephants and/or fire. Unlike fire and frost, which cannot suppress the woodland phase on their own in this ecosystem, elephants can independently drive the vegetation to the scrub phase. The results suggest that elephant and fire management may be critical for the persistence of certain woodland communities within dry-season elephant habitats in the eastern Kalahari, particularly those dominated by Brachystegia spiciformis and other palatable species.

  11. Roadless wilderness area determines forest elephant movements in the Congo Basin.

    PubMed

    Blake, Stephen; Deem, Sharon L; Strindberg, Samantha; Maisels, Fiona; Momont, Ludovic; Isia, Inogwabini-Bila; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Karesh, William B; Kock, Michael D

    2008-01-01

    A dramatic expansion of road building is underway in the Congo Basin fuelled by private enterprise, international aid, and government aspirations. Among the great wilderness areas on earth, the Congo Basin is outstanding for its high biodiversity, particularly mobile megafauna including forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis). The abundance of many mammal species in the Basin increases with distance from roads due to hunting pressure, but the impacts of road proliferation on the movements of individuals are unknown. We investigated the ranging behaviour of forest elephants in relation to roads and roadless wilderness by fitting GPS telemetry collars onto a sample of 28 forest elephants living in six priority conservation areas. We show that the size of roadless wilderness is a strong determinant of home range size in this species. Though our study sites included the largest wilderness areas in central African forests, none of 4 home range metrics we calculated, including core area, tended toward an asymptote with increasing wilderness size, suggesting that uninhibited ranging in forest elephants no longer exists. Furthermore we show that roads outside protected areas which are not protected from hunting are a formidable barrier to movement while roads inside protected areas are not. Only 1 elephant from our sample crossed an unprotected road. During crossings her mean speed increased 14-fold compared to normal movements. Forest elephants are increasingly confined and constrained by roads across the Congo Basin which is reducing effective habitat availability and isolating populations, significantly threatening long term conservation efforts. If the current road development trajectory continues, forest wildernesses and the forest elephants they contain will collapse.

  12. Roadless Wilderness Area Determines Forest Elephant Movements in the Congo Basin

    PubMed Central

    Blake, Stephen; Deem, Sharon L.; Strindberg, Samantha; Maisels, Fiona; Momont, Ludovic; Isia, Inogwabini-Bila; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Karesh, William B.; Kock, Michael D.

    2008-01-01

    A dramatic expansion of road building is underway in the Congo Basin fuelled by private enterprise, international aid, and government aspirations. Among the great wilderness areas on earth, the Congo Basin is outstanding for its high biodiversity, particularly mobile megafauna including forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis). The abundance of many mammal species in the Basin increases with distance from roads due to hunting pressure, but the impacts of road proliferation on the movements of individuals are unknown. We investigated the ranging behaviour of forest elephants in relation to roads and roadless wilderness by fitting GPS telemetry collars onto a sample of 28 forest elephants living in six priority conservation areas. We show that the size of roadless wilderness is a strong determinant of home range size in this species. Though our study sites included the largest wilderness areas in central African forests, none of 4 home range metrics we calculated, including core area, tended toward an asymptote with increasing wilderness size, suggesting that uninhibited ranging in forest elephants no longer exists. Furthermore we show that roads outside protected areas which are not protected from hunting are a formidable barrier to movement while roads inside protected areas are not. Only 1 elephant from our sample crossed an unprotected road. During crossings her mean speed increased 14-fold compared to normal movements. Forest elephants are increasingly confined and constrained by roads across the Congo Basin which is reducing effective habitat availability and isolating populations, significantly threatening long term conservation efforts. If the current road development trajectory continues, forest wildernesses and the forest elephants they contain will collapse. PMID:18958284

  13. Cancer patterns in three African populations compared with the United States black population.

    PubMed

    Walker, A R; Walker, B F; Segal, I

    1993-07-01

    Cancer incidence rates and patterns in three African populations in the Gambia, Mali and South Africa, have been compared with corresponding data on the Black population in Connecticut, USA. In the African populations, total rates for cancer are much lower than that of US Blacks, even allowing for under-reporting. Chief cancers are those of the oesophagus, liver and cervix. In Mali, stomach cancer is very common. As to trends, among South African Blacks, a population in transition, rates are rising, albeit slowly, of cancers of prosperity--prostate, lung, breast and colon-rectum. Salient questions are: can the number of cancers of underprivilege be lessened, and can cancers linked with rising socioeconomic states be restrained? Discussions of common risk factors, including diet, reproduction, smoking and drinking practices, indicate that for Africans as a whole, continuing poverty will prevent major changes in cancer pattern and rises in occurrence of the disease. However, should prosperity increase for Africans in big cities, rates are ultimately likely to attain those prevailing in the US Black population. Significant avoiding action seems almost impossible.

  14. Minimum cost of transport in Asian elephants: do we really need a bigger elephant?

    PubMed

    Langman, Vaughan A; Rowe, Michael F; Roberts, Thomas J; Langman, Nathanial V; Taylor, Charles R

    2012-05-01

    Body mass is the primary determinant of an animal's energy requirements. At their optimum walking speed, large animals have lower mass-specific energy requirements for locomotion than small ones. In animals ranging in size from 0.8 g (roach) to 260 kg (zebu steer), the minimum cost of transport (COT(min)) decreases with increasing body size roughly as COT(min)∝body mass (M(b))(-0.316±0.023) (95% CI). Typically, the variation of COT(min) with body mass is weaker at the intraspecific level as a result of physiological and geometric similarity within closely related species. The interspecific relationship estimates that an adult elephant, with twice the body mass of a mid-sized elephant, should be able to move its body approximately 23% cheaper than the smaller elephant. We sought to determine whether adult Asian and sub-adult African elephants follow a single quasi-intraspecific relationship, and extend the interspecific relationship between COT(min) and body mass to 12-fold larger animals. Physiological and possibly geometric similarity between adult Asian elephants and sub-adult African elephants caused body mass to have a no effect on COT(min) (COT(min)∝M(b)(0.007±0.455)). The COT(min) in elephants occurred at walking speeds between 1.3 and ∼1.5 m s(-1), and at Froude numbers between 0.10 and 0.24. The addition of adult Asian elephants to the interspecific relationship resulted in COT(min)∝M (-0.277±0.046)(b). The quasi-intraspecific relationship between body mass and COT(min) among elephants caused the interspecific relationship to underestimate COT(min) in larger elephants.

  15. Lactase deficiency in the South African black population.

    PubMed

    Segal, I; Gagjee, P P; Essop, A R; Noormohamed, A M

    1983-12-01

    H2 breath analysis was carried out to determine the prevalence of lactase deficiency in different tribes of the South African Black population. Lactase deficiency was common (78%), despite the fact that two of the largest tribes (Zulu and Xhosa) are cattle herders and milk drinkers. This apparent anomaly is due to the consumption of a traditional fermented buttermilk, ("amasi" which has a low lactose content) instead of fresh milk. The most important reason for lactase deficiency, however, is that the South African Blacks originated in the West and Central African zone of nonmilking and took up dairying and milk use fairly recently. Thus they have not had enough time for genetic selection for lactase deficiency through life. The implications inherent in this study are that it would be more prudent to supply milk to developing countries in the form of a fermented milk product such as buttermilk. This is readily accepted by the Black population and would not be counter to accepted cultural practice.

  16. APOL1 and nephropathy progression in populations of African ancestry.

    PubMed

    Freedman, Barry I

    2013-09-01

    Marked familial aggregation of chronic kidney disease suggests that inherited factors play a major role in nephropathy susceptibility. Molecular genetics analyses have identified a number of genes reproducibly associated with a broad range of renal phenotypes. Most associations show polygenic inheritance patterns with limited effect size. In contrast, genetic association between the apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) gene and several severe nondiabetic forms of kidney disease in African Americans approach Mendelian inheritance patterns and account for a large proportion of glomerulosclerosis in populations of African ancestry. Emerging data support an important role for APOL1 in the progression of diverse etiologies of kidney disease, in concert with requisite environmental (gene*environment) and inherited (gene*gene) interactions. This article reviews the current status of APOL1-associated nephropathy and discusses research questions under active investigation in the search for a cure for these severe and often progressive kidney diseases.

  17. How Bees Deter Elephants: Beehive Trials with Forest Elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) in Gabon.

    PubMed

    Ngama, Steeve; Korte, Lisa; Bindelle, Jérôme; Vermeulen, Cédric; Poulsen, John R

    2016-01-01

    In Gabon, like elsewhere in Africa, crops are often sources of conflict between humans and wildlife. Wildlife damage to crops can drastically reduce income, amplifying poverty and creating a negative perception of wild animal conservation among rural people. In this context, crop-raiding animals like elephants quickly become "problem animals". To deter elephants from raiding crops beehives have been successfully employed in East Africa; however, this method has not yet been tested in Central Africa. We experimentally examined whether the presence of Apis mellifera adansonii, the African honey bee species present in Central Africa, deters forest elephants (Loxodonta Africana cyclotis) from feeding on fruit trees. We show for the first time that the effectiveness of beehives as deterrents of elephants is related to bee activity. Empty hives and those housing colonies of low bee activity do not deter elephants all the time; but beehives with high bee activity do. Although elephant disturbance of hives does not impede honey production, there is a tradeoff between deterrence and the quantity of honey produced. To best achieve the dual goals of deterring elephants and producing honey colonies must maintain an optimum activity level of 40 to 60 bee movements per minute. Thus, beehives colonized by Apis mellifera adansonii bees can be effective elephant deterrents, but people must actively manage hives to maintain bee colonies at the optimum activity level.

  18. How Bees Deter Elephants: Beehive Trials with Forest Elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) in Gabon

    PubMed Central

    Ngama, Steeve; Korte, Lisa; Bindelle, Jérôme; Vermeulen, Cédric; Poulsen, John R.

    2016-01-01

    In Gabon, like elsewhere in Africa, crops are often sources of conflict between humans and wildlife. Wildlife damage to crops can drastically reduce income, amplifying poverty and creating a negative perception of wild animal conservation among rural people. In this context, crop-raiding animals like elephants quickly become “problem animals”. To deter elephants from raiding crops beehives have been successfully employed in East Africa; however, this method has not yet been tested in Central Africa. We experimentally examined whether the presence of Apis mellifera adansonii, the African honey bee species present in Central Africa, deters forest elephants (Loxodonta Africana cyclotis) from feeding on fruit trees. We show for the first time that the effectiveness of beehives as deterrents of elephants is related to bee activity. Empty hives and those housing colonies of low bee activity do not deter elephants all the time; but beehives with high bee activity do. Although elephant disturbance of hives does not impede honey production, there is a tradeoff between deterrence and the quantity of honey produced. To best achieve the dual goals of deterring elephants and producing honey colonies must maintain an optimum activity level of 40 to 60 bee movements per minute. Thus, beehives colonized by Apis mellifera adansonii bees can be effective elephant deterrents, but people must actively manage hives to maintain bee colonies at the optimum activity level. PMID:27196059

  19. African Ancestry is a Risk Factor for Asthma and High Total IgE Levels in African Admixed Populations

    PubMed Central

    Vergara, Candelaria; Murray, Tanda; Rafaels, Nicholas; Lewis, Rachel; Campbell, Monica; Foster, Cassandra; Gao, Li; Faruque, Mezbah; Oliveira, Ricardo Riccio; Carvalho, Edgar; Araujo, Maria Ilma; Cruz, Alvaro A.; Watson, Harold; Mercado, Dilia; Knight-Madden, Jennifer; Ruczinski, Ingo; Dunston, Georgia; Ford, Jean; Caraballo, Luis; Beaty, Terri H.; Mathias, Rasika A.; Barnes, Kathleen C.

    2014-01-01

    Characterization of genetic admixture of populations in the Americas and the Caribbean is of interest for anthropological, epidemiological, and historical reasons. Asthma has a higher prevalence and is more severe in populations with a high African component. Association of African ancestry with asthma has been demonstrated. We estimated admixture proportions of samples from six trihybrid populations of African descent and determined the relationship between African ancestry and asthma and total serum IgE levels (tIgE). We genotyped 237 ancestry informative markers in asthmatics and nonasthmatic controls from Barbados (190/277), Jamaica (177/529), Brazil (40/220), Colombia (508/625), African Americans from New York (207/171), and African Americans from Baltimore/Washington, D.C. (625/757). We estimated individual ancestries and evaluated genetic stratification using Structure and principal component analysis. Association of African ancestry and asthma and tIgE was evaluated by regression analysis. Mean SD African ancestry ranged from 0.76 ± 0.10 among Barbadians to 0.33 ± 0.13 in Colombians. The European component varied from 0.14 ± 0.05 among Jamaicans and Barbadians to 0.26 ± 0.08 among Colombians. African ancestry was associated with risk for asthma in Colombians (odds ratio (OR) = 4.5, P = 0.001) Brazilians (OR = 136.5, P = 0.003), and African Americans of New York (OR: 4.7; P = 0.040). African ancestry was also associated with higher tIgE levels among Colombians (β = 1.3, P = 0.04), Barbadians (β = 3.8, P = 0.03), and Brazilians (β = 1.6, P = 0.03). Our findings indicate that African ancestry can account for, at least in part, the association between asthma and its associated trait, tIgE levels. PMID:23554133

  20. Environmental Perturbations, Behavioral Change, and Population Response in a Long-Term Northern Elephant Seal Study

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2014-09-30

    of transfer functions which describe how behavioral responses to sound affect life functions, how life functions are linked to vital population...Resource Sound Research Requirements, specifically within the “Response to Naval Sounds ” requirement #5: Determine biologically significant behavioral...responses from Navy sound sources on individuals representing marine mammal species of concern with respect to ... determining long-term effects of

  1. Environmental Perturbations, Behavioral Change, and Population Response in a Long-Term Northern Elephant Seal Study

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-09-30

    REPORT TYPE 3. DATES COVERED 00-00-2011 to 00-00-2011 4 . TITLE AND SUBTITLE Environmental Perturbations, Behavioral Change, and Population Response...condition to reproductive output; 4 ) continue and expand tag re-sighting to refine survival estimates; 5) continue satellite tracking of adult females to... Molting Seasons 2011 Funding from this grant supported multiple components of the field effort associated with the study of both foraging behavior

  2. Nonfatal clinical presentation of elephant endotheliotropic herpes virus discovered in a group of captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    Schaftenaar, W; Reid, C; Martina, B; Fickel, J; Osterhaus, A D M E

    2010-12-01

    Several different strains of elephant endotheliotropic herpes virus-1 (EEHV-1) have been identified via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques in both African and Asian elephants. EEHV-1 has been identified in both cutaneous lesions in healthy African elephants and fatal cases of hemorrhagic syndrome in Asian elephants. However, until now, no EEHV-1 strain has been identified or associated with otherwise healthy Asian elephants. This article describes recurrent nonendothelial lesions associated with EEHV-1 infection in a herd of Asian elephants not exhibiting fatal hemorrhagic syndrome. Genotypes of EEHV-1 strains, based on viral DNA polymerase and glycoprotein B, associated with fatal hemorrhagic syndrome, were compared to those identified in nonendothelial lesions. The same EEHV-1 genotypes were identified in fatal cases and mucosal lesions in otherwise healthy Asian elephants in this herd. Further studies of the Asian elephant immune system and virologic studies to determine the triggers of tissue tropism are needed before any conclusion can be reached. Elephant endotheliotropic herpes virus, EEHV, herpetic lesions, tropism.

  3. Foetal age determination and development in elephants

    PubMed Central

    Hildebrandt, Thomas; Drews, Barbara; Gaeth, Ann P; Goeritz, Frank; Hermes, Robert; Schmitt, Dennis; Gray, Charlie; Rich, Peter; Streich, Wolf Juergen; Short, Roger V; Renfree, Marilyn B

    2006-01-01

    Elephants have the longest pregnancy of all mammals, with an average gestation of around 660 days, so their embryonic and foetal development have always been of special interest. Hitherto, it has only been possible to estimate foetal ages from theoretical calculations based on foetal mass. The recent development of sophisticated ultrasound procedures for elephants has now made it possible to monitor the growth and development of foetuses of known gestational age conceived in captivity from natural matings or artificial insemination. We have studied the early stages of pregnancy in 10 captive Asian and 9 African elephants by transrectal ultrasound. Measurements of foetal crown–rump lengths have provided the first accurate growth curves, which differ significantly from the previous theoretical estimates based on the cube root of foetal mass. We have used these to age 22 African elephant foetuses collected during culling operations. Pregnancy can be first recognized ultrasonographically by day 50, the presumptive yolk sac by about day 75 and the zonary placenta by about day 85. The trunk is first recognizable by days 85–90 and is distinct by day 104, while the first heartbeats are evident from around day 80. By combining ultrasonography and morphology, we have been able to produce the first reliable criteria for estimating gestational age and ontological development of Asian and African elephant foetuses during the first third of gestation. PMID:17164195

  4. Density as an explanatory variable of movements and calf survival in savanna elephants across southern Africa.

    PubMed

    Young, K D; Van Aarde, R J

    2010-05-01

    1. Southern Africa's 'elephant problem' is often attributed to an overabundance of elephants (Loxodonta africana) in conservation areas. Paradoxically, the African elephant is listed as 'vulnerable' (IUCN Redlist) despite occupying a large geographical range and numbering about 600 000. How densities influence elephant populations is therefore important for conservation management decisions, particularly because a move towards non-equilibrium management of savannas implies a need for elephant populations to fluctuate in response to variation in intrinsic (demographic) and extrinsic (resource) factors. 2. A study on one of the world's largest elephant populations demonstrated that population regulation is driven by a spatial response to water availability, environmental stochasticity and density. The challenge remains to identify the demographic and behavioural variables that drive density dependence. 3. We evaluated whether the movements of elephant family groups from 13 populations across a wide resource gradient were explained by variability in primary productivity, rainfall and population density. We then assessed whether density-related movements explained variability in juvenile survival, hence inferring a spatially driven behavioural mechanism that may explain density-dependent population growth. We also analysed whether management actions modified this mechanism. 4. In the dry season, daily-displacement distances (DDDs) increased non-linearly with density, and declined with increased vegetation productivity and previous wet season rainfall. In the wet season, DDDs were primarily explained by vegetation productivity. 5. The survival of weaned calves (4-7 years) decreased with increasing dry season DDDs, but this did not hold for suckling calves (1-3 years) or sub-adults (8-11 years). 6. Fences and supplementary water modified the shape and strength of relationships between DDDs and densities, vegetation productivity and rainfall and negated the relationships

  5. Aspects of elephant behavior, ecology, and interactions with humans

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    O'Connell, Caitlin Elizabeth

    This dissertation is comprised of two chapters relating to the acoustic behavior of elephants, their surrounding ecology and interactions with humans. The first chapter investigates the seismic aspects of Asian elephant (Elephus maximus) acoustic communication. The second chapter is comprised of a synthesis of two separate studies conducted on the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) in Namibia, both in Etosha National Park and the Caprivi region. The two studies were combined and published in Biological Conservation as one large study on aspects of the economic and social impacts of elephant/human conflict and experiments conducted to reduce conflict. In chapter one, seismic and acoustic data were recorded simultaneously from Asian elephants during periods of vocalizations and locomotion. Acoustic and seismic signals from rumbles were highly correlated at near and far distances and were in phase near the elephant and were out of phase at an increased distance from the elephant. Data analyses indicated that elephant generated signals associated with rumbles and "foot stomps" propagated at different velocities in the two media, the acoustic signals traveling at 309 m/s and the seismic signals at 248--264 m/s. Both types of signals had predominant frequencies in the range of 20 Hz. Seismic signal amplitudes considerably above background noise were recorded at 40 m from the generating elephants for both the rumble and the stomp. Seismic propagation models suggest that seismic waveforms from vocalizations are potentially detectable by instruments at distances of up to 16 km, and up to 32 km for locomotion generated signals. Thus, if detectable by elephants, these seismic signals could be useful for long distance communication. In chapter two, the economic impact of elephants, Loxodonta africana , and predators, particularly lions, Panthera leo, on rural agriculturists in the Kwando region of the East Caprivi, Namibia was assessed from the years 1991 to 1995. Elephants

  6. Determining Connections between the Daily Lives of Zoo Elephants and Their Welfare: An Epidemiological Approach.

    PubMed

    Meehan, Cheryl L; Mench, Joy A; Carlstead, Kathy; Hogan, Jennifer N

    2016-01-01

    Concerns about animal welfare increasingly shape people's views about the acceptability of keeping animals for food production, biomedical research, and in zoos. The field of animal welfare science has developed over the past 50 years as a method of investigating these concerns via research that assesses how living in human-controlled environments influences the behavior, health and affective states of animals. Initially, animal welfare research focused on animals in agricultural settings, but the field has expanded to zoos because good animal welfare is essential to zoos' mission of promoting connections between animals and visitors and raising awareness of conservation issues. A particular challenge for zoos is ensuring good animal welfare for long-lived, highly social species like elephants. Our main goal in conducting an epidemiological study of African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephant welfare in 68 accredited North American zoos was to understand the prevalence of welfare indicators in the population and determine the aspects of an elephant's zoo environment, social life and management that are most important to prevent and reduce a variety of welfare problems. In this overview, we provide a summary of the findings of the nine papers in the collection titled: Epidemiological Investigations of North American Zoo Elephant Welfare with a focus on the life history, social, housing, and management factors found to be associated with particular aspects of elephant welfare, including the performance of abnormal behavior, foot and joint problems, recumbence, walking rates, and reproductive health issues. Social and management factors were found to be important for multiple indicators of welfare, while exhibit space was found to be less influential than expected. This body of work results from the largest prospective zoo-based animal welfare study conducted to date and sets in motion the process of using science-based welfare benchmarks to

  7. The oral susceptibility of South African field populations of Culicoides to African horse sickness virus.

    PubMed

    Venter, G J; Wright, I M; Van Der Linde, T C; Paweska, J T

    2009-12-01

    Twenty-two isolates of African horse sickness virus (AHSV), representing its distinct serotypes, geographical and historical origins, were fed to three populations of South African livestock-associated Culicoides spp. (Diptera, Ceratopogonidae). Infective blood meals included 12 recent isolates, nine historical reference strains and one live attenuated vaccine strain serotype 7 (AHSV-7) of the virus. Field-collected midges were fed through a chicken-skin membrane on sheep blood spiked with one of the viruses, which concentrations ranged from 5.4 to 8.8 log(10)TCID(50)/mL of blood. After 10 days incubation at 23.5 degrees C, AHSV was isolated from 11 Culicoides species. Standard in vitro passaging of AHSV-7, used for the preparation of live attenuated vaccine, did not reduce its ability to infect Culicoides species. Virus recovery rates in orally infected Culicoides midges differed significantly between species and populations, serotypes, isolates and seasons. Significant variations in oral susceptibility recorded in this study emphasize a complex inter-relationship between virus and vector, which is further influenced by multiple intrinsic and extrinsic factors. As it is not possible to standardize all these factors under laboratory conditions, conclusive assessment of the role of field-collected Culicoides midges in the transmission of orbiviruses remains problematic. Nevertheless, results of this study suggest the potential for multi-vector transmission of AHSV virus in South Africa.

  8. FastStats: Health of Black or African American non-Hispanic Population

    MedlinePlus

    ... Health of Black or African American non-Hispanic Population Recommend on Facebook Tweet Share Compartir Data are ... Source: Summary Health Statistics Tables for the U.S. Population: National Health Interview Survey, 2015, Table P-1c [ ...

  9. Using morphometric and analytical techniques to characterize elephant ivory.

    PubMed

    Singh, Rina Rani; Goyal, Surendra Prakash; Khanna, Param Pal; Mukherjee, Pulok Kumar; Sukumar, Raman

    2006-10-16

    There is a need to characterize Asian elephant ivory and compare with African ivory for controlling illegal trade and implementation of national and international laws. In this paper, we characterize ivory of Asian and African elephants using Schreger angle measurements, elemental analysis {X-ray fluorescence (XRF), inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES), and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS)} and isotopic analysis. We recorded Schreger angle characteristics of elephant ivory at three different zones in ivory samples of African (n=12) and Asian (n=28) elephants. The Schreger angle ranged from 32 degrees to 145 degrees and 30 degrees to 153 degrees in Asian and African ivory, respectively. Elemental analysis (for Asian and African ivory) by XRF, ICP-AES and ICP-MS provided preliminary data. We attempted to ascertain source of origin of Asian elephant ivory similarly as in African ivory based on isotopes of carbon, nitrogen and strontium. We determined isotopic ratios of carbon (n=31) and nitrogen (n=31) corresponding to diet and rainfall, respectively. Reference ivory samples from five areas within India were analyzed using collagen and powder sample and the latter was found more suitable for forensic analysis. During our preliminary analysis, the range of delta13C values (-13.6+/-0.15 per thousand and -25.6+/-0.15 per thousand) and delta15N values (10.2+/-0.15 per thousand and 3.5+/-0.15 per thousand) were noted.

  10. Induced elephant (Loxodonta africana) tusk removal.

    PubMed

    Steiner, Martin; Gould, Alan R; Clark, Thomas J; Burns, Roy

    2003-03-01

    Elephant tusk removal usually requires costly surgical procedures that are time-consuming and present a significant risk to the animal when performed using general anesthesia. Such techniques require gauges, chisels, and forceps to remove the tusk. This article reports the simple removal of the tusk of an 18-yr-old African elephant (Loxodonta africana) without the use of surgical instruments and anesthesia. Rubber elastics were placed around a tusk, causing loss of alveolar bone with subsequent exfoliation of the tusk within 3 wk. The healing process was uneventful.

  11. Morphometric and genetic changes in a population of Apis mellifera after 34 years of Africanization.

    PubMed

    Francoy, T M; Wittmann, D; Steinhage, V; Drauschke, M; Müller, S; Cunha, D R; Nascimento, A M; Figueiredo, V L C; Simões, Z L P; De Jong, D; Arias, M C; Gonçalves, L S

    2009-01-01

    Though the replacement of European bees by Africanized honey bees in tropical America has attracted considerable attention, little is known about the temporal changes in morphological and genetic characteristics in these bee populations. We examined the changes in the morphometric and genetic profiles of an Africanized honey bee population collected near where the original African swarms escaped, after 34 years of Africanization. Workers from colonies sampled in 1968 and in 2002 were morphometrically analyzed using relative warps analysis and an Automatic Bee Identification System (ABIS). All the colonies had their mitochondrial DNA identified. The subspecies that mixed to form the Africanized honey bees were used as a comparison for the morphometric analysis. The two morphometric approaches showed great similarity of Africanized bees with the African subspecies, Apis mellifera scutellata, corroborating with other markers. We also found the population of 1968 to have the pattern of wing venation to be more similar to A. m. scutellata than the current population. The mitochondrial DNA of European origin, which was very common in the 1968 population, was not found in the current population, indicating selective pressure replacing the European with the African genome in this tropical region. Both morphometric methodologies were very effective in discriminating the A. mellifera groups; the non-linear analysis of ABIS was the most successful in identifying the bees, with more than 94% correct classifications.

  12. Quantity and configuration of available elephant habitat and related conservation concerns in the Lower Kinabatangan floodplain of Sabah, Malaysia.

    PubMed

    Estes, Jason G; Othman, Nurzhafarina; Ismail, Sulaiman; Ancrenaz, Marc; Goossens, Benoit; Ambu, Laurentius N; Estes, Anna B; Palmiotto, Peter A

    2012-01-01

    The approximately 300 (298, 95% CI: 152-581) elephants in the Lower Kinabatangan Managed Elephant Range in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo are a priority sub-population for Borneo's total elephant population (2,040, 95% CI: 1,184-3,652). Habitat loss and human-elephant conflict are recognized as the major threats to Bornean elephant survival. In the Kinabatangan region, human settlements and agricultural development for oil palm drive an intense fragmentation process. Electric fences guard against elephant crop raiding but also remove access to suitable habitat patches. We conducted expert opinion-based least-cost analyses, to model the quantity and configuration of available suitable elephant habitat in the Lower Kinabatangan, and called this the Elephant Habitat Linkage. At 184 km(2), our estimate of available habitat is 54% smaller than the estimate used in the State's Elephant Action Plan for the Lower Kinabatangan Managed Elephant Range (400 km(2)). During high flood levels, available habitat is reduced to only 61 km(2). As a consequence, short-term elephant densities are likely to surge during floods to 4.83 km(-2) (95% CI: 2.46-9.41), among the highest estimated for forest-dwelling elephants in Asia or Africa. During severe floods, the configuration of remaining elephant habitat and the surge in elephant density may put two villages at elevated risk of human-elephant conflict. Lower Kinabatangan elephants are vulnerable to the natural disturbance regime of the river due to their limited dispersal options. Twenty bottlenecks less than one km wide throughout the Elephant Habitat Linkage, have the potential to further reduce access to suitable habitat. Rebuilding landscape connectivity to isolated habitat patches and to the North Kinabatangan Managed Elephant Range (less than 35 km inland) are conservation priorities that would increase the quantity of available habitat, and may work as a mechanism to allow population release, lower elephant density, reduce human-elephant

  13. New evidence for hybrid zones of forest and savanna elephants in Central and West Africa.

    PubMed

    Mondol, Samrat; Moltke, Ida; Hart, John; Keigwin, Michael; Brown, Lisa; Stephens, Matthew; Wasser, Samuel K

    2015-12-01

    The African elephant consists of forest and savanna subspecies. Both subspecies are highly endangered due to severe poaching and habitat loss, and knowledge of their population structure is vital to their conservation. Previous studies have demonstrated marked genetic and morphological differences between forest and savanna elephants, and despite extensive sampling, genetic evidence of hybridization between them has been restricted largely to a few hybrids in the Garamba region of northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Here, we present new genetic data on hybridization from previously unsampled areas of Africa. Novel statistical methods applied to these data identify 46 hybrid samples--many more than have been previously identified--only two of which are from the Garamba region. The remaining 44 are from three other geographically distinct locations: a major hybrid zone along the border of the DRC and Uganda, a second potential hybrid zone in Central African Republic and a smaller fraction of hybrids in the Pendjari-Arli complex of West Africa. Most of the hybrids show evidence of interbreeding over more than one generation, demonstrating that hybrids are fertile. Mitochondrial and Y chromosome data demonstrate that the hybridization is bidirectional, involving males and females from both subspecies. We hypothesize that the hybrid zones may have been facilitated by poaching and habitat modification. The localized geography and rarity of hybrid zones, their possible facilitation from human pressures, and the high divergence and genetic distinctness of forest and savanna elephants throughout their ranges, are consistent with calls for separate species classification.

  14. Von Economo neurons in the elephant brain.

    PubMed

    Hakeem, Atiya Y; Sherwood, Chet C; Bonar, Christopher J; Butti, Camilla; Hof, Patrick R; Allman, John M

    2009-02-01

    Von Economo neurons (VENs), previously found in humans, all of the great ape species, and four cetacean species, are also present in African and Indian elephants. The VENs in the elephant are primarily found in similar locations to those in the other species. They are most abundant in the frontoinsular cortex (area FI) and are also present at lower density in the anterior cingulate cortex. Additionally, they are found in a dorsolateral prefrontal area and less abundantly in the region of the frontal pole. The VEN morphology appears to have arisen independently in hominids, cetaceans, and elephants, and may reflect a specialization for the rapid transmission of crucial social information in very large brains.

  15. Mammoth and elephant phylogenetic relationships: Mammut americanum, the missing outgroup.

    PubMed

    Orlando, Ludovic; Hänni, Catherine; Douady, Christophe J

    2007-03-29

    At the morphological level, the woolly mammoth has most often been considered as the sister-species of Asian elephants, but at the DNA level, different studies have found support for proximity with African elephants. Recent reports have increased the available sequence data and apparently solved the discrepancy, finding mammoths to be most closely related to Asian elephants. However, we demonstrate here that the three competing topologies have similar likelihood, bayesian and parsimony supports. The analysis further suggests the inadequacy of using Sirenia or Hyracoidea as outgroups. We therefore argue that orthologous sequences from the extinct American mastodon will be required to definitively solve this long-standing question.

  16. Elephants have relatively the largest cerebellum size of mammals.

    PubMed

    Maseko, Busisiwe C; Spocter, Muhammad A; Haagensen, Mark; Manger, Paul R

    2012-04-01

    The current study used MR imaging to determine the volume of the cerebellum and its component parts in the brain of three adult male African elephants (Loxodonta africana) and compared this with published data from Asian elephants and other mammalian species including odontocete cetaceans, primates, chiropterans, insectivores, carnivores, and artiodactyls. The cerebellum of the adult elephant has a volume of ∼925 mL (average of both African and Asian species). Allometric analysis indicates that the elephant has the largest relative cerebellum size of all mammals studied to date. In addition, both odontocete cetaceans and microchiropterans appear to have large relative cerebellar sizes. The vermal and hemispheric components of the African elephant cerebellum are both large relative to other mammals of similar brain size, however, for odontocete cetaceans the vermal component is small and the hemispheric component is large. These volumetric observations are related to life-histories and anatomies of the species investigated. The current study provides context for one aspect of the elephant brain in the broader picture of mammalian brain evolution.

  17. Forensic species identification of elephant (Elephantidae) and giraffe (Giraffidae) tail hair using light microscopy.

    PubMed

    Yates, Bonnie C; Espinoza, Edgard O; Baker, Barry W

    2010-09-01

    Here we present methods for distinguishing tail hairs of African elephants (Loxodonta africana), Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), and giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) from forensic contexts. Such hairs are commonly used to manufacture jewelry artifacts that are often sold illegally in the international wildlife trade. Tail hairs from these three species are easily confused macroscopically, and morphological methods for distinguishing African and Asian tail hairs have not been published. We used cross section analysis and light microscopy to analyze the tail hair morphology of 18 individual African elephants, 18 Asian elephants, and 40 giraffes. We found that cross-sectional shape, pigment placement, and pigment density are useful morphological features for distinguishing the three species. These observations provide wildlife forensic scientists with an important analytical tool for enforcing legislation and international treaties regulating the trade in elephant parts.

  18. Determining Connections between the Daily Lives of Zoo Elephants and Their Welfare: An Epidemiological Approach

    PubMed Central

    Meehan, Cheryl L.; Mench, Joy A.; Carlstead, Kathy; Hogan, Jennifer N.

    2016-01-01

    Concerns about animal welfare increasingly shape people’s views about the acceptability of keeping animals for food production, biomedical research, and in zoos. The field of animal welfare science has developed over the past 50 years as a method of investigating these concerns via research that assesses how living in human-controlled environments influences the behavior, health and affective states of animals. Initially, animal welfare research focused on animals in agricultural settings, but the field has expanded to zoos because good animal welfare is essential to zoos’ mission of promoting connections between animals and visitors and raising awareness of conservation issues. A particular challenge for zoos is ensuring good animal welfare for long-lived, highly social species like elephants. Our main goal in conducting an epidemiological study of African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephant welfare in 68 accredited North American zoos was to understand the prevalence of welfare indicators in the population and determine the aspects of an elephant’s zoo environment, social life and management that are most important to prevent and reduce a variety of welfare problems. In this overview, we provide a summary of the findings of the nine papers in the collection titled: Epidemiological Investigations of North American Zoo Elephant Welfare with a focus on the life history, social, housing, and management factors found to be associated with particular aspects of elephant welfare, including the performance of abnormal behavior, foot and joint problems, recumbence, walking rates, and reproductive health issues. Social and management factors were found to be important for multiple indicators of welfare, while exhibit space was found to be less influential than expected. This body of work results from the largest prospective zoo-based animal welfare study conducted to date and sets in motion the process of using science-based welfare benchmarks

  19. North African Jewish and non-Jewish populations form distinctive, orthogonal clusters

    PubMed Central

    Campbell, Christopher L.; Palamara, Pier F.; Dubrovsky, Maya; Botigué, Laura R.; Fellous, Marc; Atzmon, Gil; Oddoux, Carole; Pearlman, Alexander; Hao, Li; Henn, Brenna M.; Burns, Edward; Bustamante, Carlos D.; Comas, David; Friedman, Eitan; Pe'er, Itsik; Ostrer, Harry

    2012-01-01

    North African Jews constitute the second largest Jewish Diaspora group. However, their relatedness to each other; to European, Middle Eastern, and other Jewish Diaspora groups; and to their former North African non-Jewish neighbors has not been well defined. Here, genome-wide analysis of five North African Jewish groups (Moroccan, Algerian, Tunisian, Djerban, and Libyan) and comparison with other Jewish and non-Jewish groups demonstrated distinctive North African Jewish population clusters with proximity to other Jewish populations and variable degrees of Middle Eastern, European, and North African admixture. Two major subgroups were identified by principal component, neighbor joining tree, and identity-by-descent analysis—Moroccan/Algerian and Djerban/Libyan—that varied in their degree of European admixture. These populations showed a high degree of endogamy and were part of a larger Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewish group. By principal component analysis, these North African groups were orthogonal to contemporary populations from North and South Morocco, Western Sahara, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. Thus, this study is compatible with the history of North African Jews—founding during Classical Antiquity with proselytism of local populations, followed by genetic isolation with the rise of Christianity and then Islam, and admixture following the emigration of Sephardic Jews during the Inquisition. PMID:22869716

  20. Genetic evidence for larger African population size during recent human evolution.

    PubMed

    Relethford, J H; Jorde, L B

    1999-03-01

    Genetic evidence suggests that the long-term average effective size of sub-Saharan Africa is larger than other geographic regions. A method is described that allows estimation of relative long-term regional population sizes. This method is applied to 60 microsatellite DNA loci from a sample of 72 sub-Saharan Africans, 63 East Asians, and 120 Europeans. Average heterozygosity is significantly higher in the sub-Saharan African sample. Expected heterozygosity was computed for each region and locus using a population genetic model based on the null hypothesis of equal long-term population sizes. Average residual heterozygosity is significantly higher in the sub-Saharan African sample, indicating that African population size was larger than other regions during recent human evolution. The best fit of the model is with relative population weights of 0.73 for sub-Saharan Africa, 0.09 for East Asia, and 0.18 for Europe. These results are similar to those obtained using craniometric variation for these three geographic regions. These results, combined with inferences from other genetic studies, support a major role of Africa in the origin of modern humans. It is less clear, however, whether complete African replacement is the most appropriate model. An alternative is an African origin with non-African gene flow. While Africa is an important region in recent human evolution, it is not clear whether the gene pool of our species is completely out of Africa or predominately out of Africa.

  1. The Elephant Trunk Nebula and the Trumpler 37 cluster: contribution of triggered star formation to the total population of an H II region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Getman, Konstantin V.; Feigelson, Eric D.; Sicilia-Aguilar, Aurora; Broos, Patrick S.; Kuhn, Michael A.; Garmire, Gordon P.

    2012-11-01

    Rich young stellar clusters produce H II regions whose expansion into the nearby molecular cloud is thought to trigger the formation of new stars. However, the importance of this mode of star formation is uncertain. This investigation seeks to quantify triggered star formation (TSF) in IC 1396A (aka the Elephant Trunk Nebula), a bright-rimmed cloud (BRC) on the periphery of the nearby giant H II region IC 1396 produced by the Trumpler 37 cluster. X-ray selection of young stars from Chandra X-ray Observatory data is combined with existing optical and infrared surveys to give a more complete census of the TSF population. Over 250 young stars in and around IC 1396A are identified; this doubles the previously known population. A spatio-temporal gradient of stars from the IC 1396A cloud towards the primary ionizing star HD 206267 is found. We argue that the TSF mechanism in IC 1396A is a radiation-driven implosion process persisting over several million years. Analysis of the X-ray luminosity and initial mass functions indicates that >140 stars down to 0.1 M⊙ were formed by TSF. Considering other BRCs in the IC 1396 H II region, we estimate the TSF contribution for the entire H II region exceeds 14-25 per cent today, and may be higher over the lifetime of the H II region. Such triggering on the periphery of H II regions may be a significant mode of star formation in the Galaxy.

  2. A study on ten short tandem repeat systems: African immigrant and Spanish population data.

    PubMed

    Gamero, J J; Romero, J L; Gonzalez, J L; Arufe, M I; Cuesta, M I; Corte-Real, F; Carvalho, M; Anjos, M J; Vieira, D N; Vide, M C

    2000-06-05

    This work presents the results obtained from a genetic-population study for the D1S1656 system in the population of Southwest Spain (Huelva, Cádiz and Sevilla), Spaniards of Caucasian origin from North Africa (Ceuta), as well as in the black Central West African and Moroccan immigrant populations in Spain. The results of a study of the autochtonous population of the Canary Islands (n=138), and immigrant Central West African populations in Spain (n=132), obtained for nine short tandem repeat (STR) loci (D3S1358, VWA, FGA, D8S1179, D21S11, D18S51, D5S818, D13S317, D7S820), as well as the amelogenin locus, all contained in Profiler Plus (Perkin-Elmer) PCR amplification kits, are also presented. Except for the FGA and VWA data on immigrant Central West African populations in Spain, no deviations from the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium were detected.

  3. A Genomic Portrait of Haplotype Diversity and Signatures of Selection in Indigenous Southern African Populations

    PubMed Central

    Chimusa, Emile R.; Meintjies, Ayton; Tchanga, Milaine; Mulder, Nicola; Seoighe, Cathal; Soodyall, Himla; Ramesar, Rajkumar

    2015-01-01

    We report a study of genome-wide, dense SNP (∼900K) and copy number polymorphism data of indigenous southern Africans. We demonstrate the genetic contribution to southern and eastern African populations, which involved admixture between indigenous San, Niger-Congo-speaking and populations of Eurasian ancestry. This finding illustrates the need to account for stratification in genome-wide association studies, and that admixture mapping would likely be a successful approach in these populations. We developed a strategy to detect the signature of selection prior to and following putative admixture events. Several genomic regions show an unusual excess of Niger-Kordofanian, and unusual deficiency of both San and Eurasian ancestry, which were considered the footprints of selection after population admixture. Several SNPs with strong allele frequency differences were observed predominantly between the admixed indigenous southern African populations, and their ancestral Eurasian populations. Interestingly, many candidate genes, which were identified within the genomic regions showing signals for selection, were associated with southern African-specific high-risk, mostly communicable diseases, such as malaria, influenza, tuberculosis, and human immunodeficiency virus/AIDs. This observation suggests a potentially important role that these genes might have played in adapting to the environment. Additionally, our analyses of haplotype structure, linkage disequilibrium, recombination, copy number variation and genome-wide admixture highlight, and support the unique position of San relative to both African and non-African populations. This study contributes to a better understanding of population ancestry and selection in south-eastern African populations; and the data and results obtained will support research into the genetic contributions to infectious as well as non-communicable diseases in the region. PMID:25811879

  4. Frequency and origins of hemoglobin S mutation in African-derived Brazilian populations.

    PubMed

    De Mello Auricchio, Maria Teresa Balester; Vicente, João Pedro; Meyer, Diogo; Mingroni-Netto, Regina Célia

    2007-12-01

    Africans arrived in Brazil as slaves in great numbers, mainly after 1550. Before the abolition of slavery in Brazil in 1888, many communities, called quilombos, were formed by runaway or abandoned African slaves. These communities are presently referred to as remnants of quilombos, and many are still partially genetically isolated. These remnants can be regarded as relicts of the original African genetic contribution to the Brazilian population. In this study we assessed frequencies and probable geographic origins of hemoglobin S (HBB*S) mutations in remnants of quilombo populations in the Ribeira River valley, São Paulo, Brazil, to reconstruct the history of African-derived populations in the region. We screened for HBB*S mutations in 11 quilombo populations (1,058 samples) and found HBB*S carrier frequencies that ranged from 0% to 14%. We analyzed beta-globin gene cluster haplotypes linked to the HBB*S mutation in 86 chromosomes and found the four known African haplotypes: 70 (81.4%) Bantu (Central Africa Republic), 7 (8.1%) Benin, 7 (8.1%) Senegal, and 2 (2.3%) Cameroon haplotypes. One sickle cell homozygote was Bantu/Bantu and two homozygotes had Bantu/Benin combinations. The high frequency of the sickle cell trait and the diversity of HBB*S linked haplotypes indicate that Brazilian remnants of quilombos are interesting repositories of genetic diversity present in the ancestral African populations.

  5. Age at breast cancer diagnosis in populations of african and European ancestry.

    PubMed

    Kadhel, Philippe; Multigner, Luc

    2014-01-01

    Based on US national cancer registry data, age differences at breast cancer diagnosis have been reported between African-American women and European-American women. Such differences between populations of African and European ancestry have not been studied in other countries at a nationwide level. Here, we report and compare descriptive nationwide epidemiological indicators of invasive breast cancer for the populations of European ancestry living in the US and in mainland France and for women of African ancestry living in the US and in the French West Indies (Martinique and Guadeloupe). Based on the available data, we determined age frequency distributions, world age-standardized incidence, and the distribution of expected cases of breast cancer in a standard population of women by age. The age frequency distributions revealed that women of African ancestry were younger at diagnosis than women of European ancestry. By contrast, compared with the US regardless of ancestry and mainland France, the standardized incidences appeared lower, and the largest numbers of expected cases younger, in the French West Indies. The populations with African ancestry were not homogeneous in terms of epidemiologic indicators of age-related breast cancer. These descriptive findings suggest that populations of African ancestry cannot be considered uniform when determining whether it would be appropriate to decrease the age of entry into screening programs for breast cancer.

  6. Estimating economic losses to tourism in Africa from the illegal killing of elephants

    PubMed Central

    Naidoo, Robin; Fisher, Brendan; Manica, Andrea; Balmford, Andrew

    2016-01-01

    Recent surveys suggest tens of thousands of elephants are being poached annually across Africa, putting the two species at risk across much of their range. Although the financial motivations for ivory poaching are clear, the economic benefits of elephant conservation are poorly understood. We use Bayesian statistical modelling of tourist visits to protected areas, to quantify the lost economic benefits that poached elephants would have delivered to African countries via tourism. Our results show these figures are substantial (∼USD $25 million annually), and that the lost benefits exceed the anti-poaching costs necessary to stop elephant declines across the continent's savannah areas, although not currently in the forests of central Africa. Furthermore, elephant conservation in savannah protected areas has net positive economic returns comparable to investments in sectors such as education and infrastructure. Even from a tourism perspective alone, increased elephant conservation is therefore a wise investment by governments in these regions. PMID:27802262

  7. Estimating economic losses to tourism in Africa from the illegal killing of elephants.

    PubMed

    Naidoo, Robin; Fisher, Brendan; Manica, Andrea; Balmford, Andrew

    2016-11-01

    Recent surveys suggest tens of thousands of elephants are being poached annually across Africa, putting the two species at risk across much of their range. Although the financial motivations for ivory poaching are clear, the economic benefits of elephant conservation are poorly understood. We use Bayesian statistical modelling of tourist visits to protected areas, to quantify the lost economic benefits that poached elephants would have delivered to African countries via tourism. Our results show these figures are substantial (∼USD $25 million annually), and that the lost benefits exceed the anti-poaching costs necessary to stop elephant declines across the continent's savannah areas, although not currently in the forests of central Africa. Furthermore, elephant conservation in savannah protected areas has net positive economic returns comparable to investments in sectors such as education and infrastructure. Even from a tourism perspective alone, increased elephant conservation is therefore a wise investment by governments in these regions.

  8. Estimating economic losses to tourism in Africa from the illegal killing of elephants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Naidoo, Robin; Fisher, Brendan; Manica, Andrea; Balmford, Andrew

    2016-11-01

    Recent surveys suggest tens of thousands of elephants are being poached annually across Africa, putting the two species at risk across much of their range. Although the financial motivations for ivory poaching are clear, the economic benefits of elephant conservation are poorly understood. We use Bayesian statistical modelling of tourist visits to protected areas, to quantify the lost economic benefits that poached elephants would have delivered to African countries via tourism. Our results show these figures are substantial (~USD $25 million annually), and that the lost benefits exceed the anti-poaching costs necessary to stop elephant declines across the continent's savannah areas, although not currently in the forests of central Africa. Furthermore, elephant conservation in savannah protected areas has net positive economic returns comparable to investments in sectors such as education and infrastructure. Even from a tourism perspective alone, increased elephant conservation is therefore a wise investment by governments in these regions.

  9. Rapid morphological changes in populations of hybrids between Africanized and European honey bees.

    PubMed

    Francoy, T M; Gonçalves, L S; De Jong, D

    2012-09-17

    African honey bees, introduced to Brazil in 1956, rapidly dominated the previously introduced European subspecies. To better understand how hybridization between these different types of bees proceeded, we made geometric morphometric analyses of the wing venation patterns of specimens resulting from crosses made between Africanized honey bees (predominantly Apis mellifera scutellata) and Italian honey bees (A. mellifera ligustica) from 1965 to 1967, at the beginning of the Africanization process, in an apiary about 150 km from the original introduction site. Two virgin queens reared from an Italian parental were instrumentally inseminated with semen from drones from an Africanized parental. Six F(1) queens from one of these colonies were open mated with Africanized drones. Resultant F(1) drones were backcrossed to 50 Italian and 50 Africanized parental queens. Five backcross workers were collected from each of eight randomly selected colonies of each type of backcross (N = 5 bees x 8 colonies x 2 types of backcrosses). The F1 progeny (40 workers and 30 drones) was found to be morphologically closer to the Africanized than to the European parental (N = 20 drones and 40 workers, each); Mahalanobis square distances = 21.6 versus 25.8, respectively, for the workers, and 39.9 versus 46.4, respectively, for the drones. The worker progenies of the backcrosses (N = 40, each) were placed between the respective parental and the F(1) progeny, although closer to the Africanized than to the Italian parentals (Mahalanobis square distance = 6.2 versus 12.1, respectively). Consequently, the most common crosses at the beginning of the Africanization process would have generated individuals more similar to Africanized than to Italian bees. This adds a genetic explanation for the rapid changes in the populational morphometric profile in recently colonized areas. Africanized alleles of wing venation pattern genes are apparently dominant and epistatic.

  10. Genetic structure of the gentle Africanized honey bee population (gAHB) in Puerto Rico

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background The Africanized honey bee is one of the most spectacular invasions in the Americas. African bees escaped from apiaries in Brazil in 1956, spread over Americas and by 1994 they were reported in Puerto Rico. In contrast to other places, the oceanic island conditions in Puerto Rico may mean a single introduction and different dynamics of the resident European and new-coming Africanized bees. To examine the genetic variation of honey bee feral populations and colonies from different locations in Puerto Rico, we used eight known polymorphic microsatellite loci. Results In Puerto Rico, gAHB population does not show any genetic structure (Fst = 0.0783), and is best described as one honey bee population, product of hybridization of AHB and EHB. The genetic variability in this Africanized population was similar to that reported in studies from Texas. We observed that European private allele frequencies are high in all but one locus. This contrasts with mainland Africanized populations, where European allele frequencies are diminished. Two loci with European private alleles, one on Linkage Group 7, known to carry two known defensiveness Quantitative Trait Loci (QTLs), and the other on Linkage Group 1, known to carry three functionally studied genes and 11 candidate genes associated with Varroa resistance mechanisms were respectively, significantly greater or lower in European allele frequency than the other loci with European private alleles. Conclusions Genetic structure of Puerto Rico gAHB differs from mainland AHB populations, probably representing evolutionary processes on the island. PMID:23915100

  11. Sperm DNA fragmentation and morphological degeneration in chilled elephant (Elephas maximus and Loxodonta Africana) semen collected by transrectal massage.

    PubMed

    O'Brien, J K; Steinman, K J; Montano, G A; Love, C C; Robeck, T R

    2013-05-01

    Ejaculates from nine Asian and two African elephants were analysed to gain a further understanding of mechanisms underlying variable semen quality after transrectal massage. Semen analysis was performed after collection (0 h; subjective motility parameters only) and after 24 h of chilled storage at 10 °C (24 h; all ejaculate and sperm characteristics). Ejaculates with ≤50% total motility (TM) at 24 h, which represented >90% of collection attempts, contained a sperm population with a high degree of DNA damage (64.2 ± 19.2% fragmented DNA) and an elevated incidence of detached heads (43.3 ± 22.5%). In contrast, good quality ejaculates designated as those with >50% TM at 24 h displayed higher (p < 0.05) values of sperm kinetic parameters, DNA integrity and normal morphology. Fertility potential was high for good quality ejaculates from two males (one Asian and one African bull) based on in vitro characteristics after chilled storage for up to 48 h post-collection. Urine contamination of semen, as assessed quantitatively by creatinine concentration, was confirmed as a significant factor in reduced elephant ejaculate quality. However, the identification of considerable DNA damage and morphological degeneration in the majority of ejaculates after only 24 h of chilled storage indicates that sperm ageing could be a primary contributor to inconsistent semen quality in the elephant.

  12. Substance Abuse in Rural African-American Populations.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dawkins, Marvin P.; Williams, Mary M.

    More research into illicit substance abuse in rural African-American communities is needed. The existing literature indicates that patterns of use for licit substances (alcohol and cigarettes) are either similar for rural Blacks and Whites or lower for Blacks. However, the negative health and social consequences of smoking and abusive drinking are…

  13. Religiosity and Risky Sexual Behaviors among an African American Church-based Population

    PubMed Central

    Hawes, Starlyn M.; Berkley-Patton, Jannette Y.

    2014-01-01

    African Americans are disproportionately burdened by STDs and HIV in the US. This study examined the relationships between demographics, religiosity, and sexual risk behaviors among 255 adult African American church-based participants. Although participants were highly religious, they reported an average of seven lifetime sex partners and most inconsistently used condoms. Several demographic variables and religiosity significantly predicted lifetime HIV-related risk factors. Taken together, findings indicated that this population is at risk for HIV. Future research should continue to identify correlates of risky sexual behavior among African American parishioners to facilitate the development of HIV risk reduction interventions in their church settings. PMID:23054481

  14. Complex Ancient Genetic Structure and Cultural Transitions in Southern African Populations.

    PubMed

    Montinaro, Francesco; Busby, George B J; Gonzalez-Santos, Miguel; Oosthuitzen, Ockie; Oosthuitzen, Erika; Anagnostou, Paolo; Destro-Bisol, Giovanni; Pascali, Vincenzo L; Capelli, Cristian

    2017-01-01

    The characterization of the structure of southern African populations has been the subject of numerous genetic, medical, linguistic, archaeological, and anthropological investigations. Current diversity in the subcontinent is the result of complex events of genetic admixture and cultural contact between early inhabitants and migrants that arrived in the region over the last 2000 years. Here, we analyze 1856 individuals from 91 populations, comprising novel and published genotype data, to characterize the genetic ancestry profiles of 631 individuals from 51 southern African populations. Combining both local ancestry and allele frequency based analyses, we identify a tripartite, ancient, Khoesan-related genetic structure. This structure correlates neither with linguistic affiliation nor subsistence strategy, but with geography, revealing the importance of isolation-by-distance dynamics in the area. Fine-mapping of these components in southern African populations reveals admixture and cultural reversion involving several Khoesan groups, and highlights that Bantu speakers and Coloured individuals have different mixtures of these ancient ancestries.

  15. Problem-Elephant Translocation: Translocating the Problem and the Elephant?

    PubMed Central

    Fernando, Prithiviraj; Leimgruber, Peter; Prasad, Tharaka; Pastorini, Jennifer

    2012-01-01

    Human-elephant conflict (HEC) threatens the survival of endangered Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Translocating “problem-elephants” is an important HEC mitigation and elephant conservation strategy across elephant range, with hundreds translocated annually. In the first comprehensive assessment of elephant translocation, we monitored 16 translocations in Sri Lanka with GPS collars. All translocated elephants were released into national parks. Two were killed within the parks where they were released, while all the others left those parks. Translocated elephants showed variable responses: “homers” returned to the capture site, “wanderers” ranged widely, and “settlers” established home ranges in new areas soon after release. Translocation caused wider propagation and intensification of HEC, and increased elephant mortality. We conclude that translocation defeats both HEC mitigation and elephant conservation goals. PMID:23236404

  16. The Third African Population Conference adopts the draft Dakar / Ngor Declaration on Population, Family and Sustainable Development.

    PubMed

    1993-01-01

    The 3rd African Population Conference, held in Dakar, Senegal, December 7-12, 1992, adopted the draft Dakar/Ngor Declaration on Population, Family and Sustainable Development in preparation for the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development. The meeting was attended by 50 member states and many observers from various United Nations Organizations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The Conference reviewed the lessons learned from the implementation of the Kilimanjaro Program of Action on Population (KAP), which had been adopted in 1984. The draft Declaration focused on the following areas: a) population, sustained economic growth, and sustainable development; family; fertility and family planning; mortality, morbidity and AIDS; urbanization and migration; refugees and displaced persons; women in development; children; data collection and analysis, information dissemination, training and research; information, education and communication; b) the role of: private and nongovernmental organizations; the subregional and regional groupings; the World Bank and relevant organizations of the United Nations System; and the international community; c) resource mobilization; and d) implementation of the Declaration. African countries should integrate population policies so as to reduce population growth from the present rate of 3.0% per annum to 2.5% by the year 2000 and to 2% by the year 2010. Environmental issues and food security were given special attention. The targets set on the contraceptive prevalence rate for Africa were to reach 20% by the year 2000 and 40% by the year 2010. The following targets were to be attained by the year 2000: life expectancy in Africa at least 55 years; an infant mortality rate of less than 50 per 1000 live births; childhood mortality rate of 70 or less. Programs to prevent AIDS were also stressed. The Declaration called on UN organizations, the World Bank, the Organization of African Unity, and the African

  17. Elevated elephant density does not improve ecotourism opportunities: convergence in social and ecological objectives.

    PubMed

    Maciejewski, Kristine; Kerley, Graham I H

    2014-07-01

    In order to sustainably conserve biodiversity, many protected areas, particularly private protected areas, must find means of self-financing. Ecotourism is increasingly seen as a mechanism to achieve such financial sustainability. However, there is concern that ecotourism operations are driven to achieve successful game-viewing, influencing the management of charismatic species. An abundance of such species, including the African elephant (Loxodonta africana), has been stocked in protected areas under the assumption that they will increase ecotourism value. At moderate to high densities, the impact of elephants is costly; numerous studies have documented severe changes in biodiversity through the impacts of elephants. Protected areas that focus on maintaining high numbers of elephants may therefore face a conflict between socioeconomic demands and the capacity of ecological systems. We address this conflict by analyzing tourist elephant-sighting records from six private and one statutory protected area, the Addo Elephant National Park (AENP), in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, in relation to elephant numbers. We found no relationship between elephant density and elephant-viewing success. Even though elephant density in the AENP increased over time, a hierarchical partitioning analysis indicated that elephant density was not a driver of tourist numbers. In contrast, annual tourist numbers for the AENP were positively correlated with general tourist numbers recorded for South Africa. Our results indicate that the socioeconomic and ecological requirements of protected areas in terms of tourism and elephants, respectively, converge. Thus, high elephant densities and their associated ecological costs are not required to support ecotourism operations for financial sustainability. Understanding the social and ecological feedbacks that dominate the dynamics of protected areas, particularly within private protected areas, can help to elucidate the management

  18. Breakfast habits of adolescents in for South African populations.

    PubMed

    Walker, A R; Walker, B F; Jones, J; Ncongwane, J

    1982-10-01

    Breakfast habits by using questionnaires, were established in a total of 4717 South African pupils of 16 to 18 yr. In the groups of rural and urban Black, Indian, European-African-Malay, and white pupils studied, respective proportions who had no solid breakfast (both sexes combined) were approximately 21, 19, 13, 13, and 14%. Proportions who had only porridge or bread (or toast) plus drink were 77, 73, 61, 71, and 56%. Such breakfast provided ranges of means of 223 to 345 kcal, 9 to 14 g protein, 7 to 18 g fat, 51 to 185 mg calcium, and 3.2 to 5.1 mg iron. Proportions who had a cooked breakfast (including egg, meat, fish), eaten with or without a cereal food, were 1, 4, 17, 8, and 29%. Such meals contributed means of 495 to 704 kcal, 11 to 26 g protein, 24 to 39 g fat, 110 to 225 mg calcium, and 3.9 to 5.5 mg iron. In the South African groups studied, the issue of breakfast or no breakfast had no clear-cut bearing on weight, height, class position, or frequency of absence from school. The degree by which, in a given community, nutrition in general and breakfast in particular, regulates health and/or academic performance, needs proper research in prospective studies.

  19. Molecular Characterization of Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines Interleukin-1β and Interleukin-8 in Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    Swami, Shelesh Kumar; Vijay, Anushri; Nagarajan, Govindasamy; Kaur, Ramneek; Srivastava, Meera

    2016-01-01

    Interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-8 are pro-inflammatory cytokines produced primarily by monocytes and macrophages in response to a variety of microbial and nonmicrobial agents. As yet, no molecular data have been reported for IL-1β and IL-8 of the Asian elephant. In the present study, we have cloned and sequenced the cDNA encoding IL-1β and IL-8 of the Asian elephant. The open reading frame (ORF) of Asian elephant IL-1β is 789 bp in length, encoded a propeptide of 263 amino acid polypeptide. The predicted protein revealed the presence of IL-1 family signature motif and an ICE cut site. Whereas, IL-8 contained 321 bp of open reading frame. Interestingly, the predicted protein sequence of 106 aa, contains an ELR motif immediately upstream of the CQC residues, common in all vertebrate IL-8 molecules. Identity levels of the nucleic acid and deduced amino acid sequences of Asian elephant IL-1β ranged from 68.48 (Squirrel monkey) to 98.57% (African elephant), and 57.78 (Sheep) to 98.47% (African elephant), respectively, whereas that of IL-8 ranged from 72.9% (Human) to 87.8% (African elephant), and 63.2 (human, gorilla, chimpanzee) to 74.5% (African elephant, buffalo), respectively. The phylogenetic analysis based on deduced amino acid sequenced showed that the Asian elephant IL-1β and IL-8 were most closely related to African elephant. Molecular characterization of these two cytokines, IL-1β and IL-8, in Asian elephant provides fundamental information necessary to progress the study of functional immune responses in this animal and gives the potential to use them to manipulate the immune response as recombinant proteins.

  20. The identification of elephant ivory evidences of illegal trade with mitochondrial cytochrome b gene and hypervariable D-loop region.

    PubMed

    Lee, Eun-jung; Lee, Yang-han; Moon, Seo-hyun; Kim, Nam-ye; Kim, Soon-hee; Yang, Moon-sik; Choi, Dong-ho; Han, Myun-soo

    2013-04-01

    DNA analysis of elephant ivory of illegal trade was handled in this work. The speciation and geographical origin of nine specimens of elephant ivory were requested by the police. Without national authorization, the suspect had purchased processed ivory seals from January to May, 2011 by Internet transactions from a site in a neighboring country. The DNA of decalcified ivory evidences was isolated with QIAGEN Micro Kit. The total 844-904 base pair sized sequences of mitochondrial cytochrome b and D-loop region could be acquired using direct sequencing analysis. They were compared with the sequences registered in GenBank. It was confirmed that most specimens were likely from African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis), one from African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) and one from Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Analysis of the mitochondrial hypervariable D-loop region sequence of elephants verified that one African savanna elephant might be from South Africa and one Asian elephant from Laos. Cytochrome b and D-loop region located in the mitochondrial DNA resulted in the successful determination of elephant DNA from nine processed ivory specimens.

  1. Complex population structure in African village dogs and its implications for inferring dog domestication history.

    PubMed

    Boyko, Adam R; Boyko, Ryan H; Boyko, Corin M; Parker, Heidi G; Castelhano, Marta; Corey, Liz; Degenhardt, Jeremiah D; Auton, Adam; Hedimbi, Marius; Kityo, Robert; Ostrander, Elaine A; Schoenebeck, Jeffrey; Todhunter, Rory J; Jones, Paul; Bustamante, Carlos D

    2009-08-18

    High genetic diversity of East Asian village dogs has recently been used to argue for an East Asian origin of the domestic dog. However, global village dog genetic diversity and the extent to which semiferal village dogs represent distinct, indigenous populations instead of admixtures of various dog breeds has not been quantified. Understanding these issues is critical to properly reconstructing the timing, number, and locations of dog domestication. To address these questions, we sampled 318 village dogs from 7 regions in Egypt, Uganda, and Namibia, measuring genetic diversity >680 bp of the mitochondrial D-loop, 300 SNPs, and 89 microsatellite markers. We also analyzed breed dogs, including putatively African breeds (Afghan hounds, Basenjis, Pharaoh hounds, Rhodesian ridgebacks, and Salukis), Puerto Rican street dogs, and mixed breed dogs from the United States. Village dogs from most African regions appear genetically distinct from non-native breed and mixed-breed dogs, although some individuals cluster genetically with Puerto Rican dogs or United States breed mixes instead of with neighboring village dogs. Thus, African village dogs are a mosaic of indigenous dogs descended from early migrants to Africa, and non-native, breed-admixed individuals. Among putatively African breeds, Pharaoh hounds, and Rhodesian ridgebacks clustered with non-native rather than indigenous African dogs, suggesting they have predominantly non-African origins. Surprisingly, we find similar mtDNA haplotype diversity in African and East Asian village dogs, potentially calling into question the hypothesis of an East Asian origin for dog domestication.

  2. Complex population structure in African village dogs and its implications for inferring dog domestication history

    PubMed Central

    Boyko, Adam R.; Boyko, Ryan H.; Boyko, Corin M.; Parker, Heidi G.; Castelhano, Marta; Corey, Liz; Degenhardt, Jeremiah D.; Auton, Adam; Hedimbi, Marius; Kityo, Robert; Ostrander, Elaine A.; Schoenebeck, Jeffrey; Todhunter, Rory J.; Jones, Paul; Bustamante, Carlos D.

    2009-01-01

    High genetic diversity of East Asian village dogs has recently been used to argue for an East Asian origin of the domestic dog. However, global village dog genetic diversity and the extent to which semiferal village dogs represent distinct, indigenous populations instead of admixtures of various dog breeds has not been quantified. Understanding these issues is critical to properly reconstructing the timing, number, and locations of dog domestication. To address these questions, we sampled 318 village dogs from 7 regions in Egypt, Uganda, and Namibia, measuring genetic diversity >680 bp of the mitochondrial D-loop, 300 SNPs, and 89 microsatellite markers. We also analyzed breed dogs, including putatively African breeds (Afghan hounds, Basenjis, Pharaoh hounds, Rhodesian ridgebacks, and Salukis), Puerto Rican street dogs, and mixed breed dogs from the United States. Village dogs from most African regions appear genetically distinct from non-native breed and mixed-breed dogs, although some individuals cluster genetically with Puerto Rican dogs or United States breed mixes instead of with neighboring village dogs. Thus, African village dogs are a mosaic of indigenous dogs descended from early migrants to Africa, and non-native, breed-admixed individuals. Among putatively African breeds, Pharaoh hounds, and Rhodesian ridgebacks clustered with non-native rather than indigenous African dogs, suggesting they have predominantly non-African origins. Surprisingly, we find similar mtDNA haplotype diversity in African and East Asian village dogs, potentially calling into question the hypothesis of an East Asian origin for dog domestication. PMID:19666600

  3. Working toward a synthesis of archaeological, linguistic, and genetic data for inferring African population history

    PubMed Central

    Scheinfeldt, Laura B.; Soi, Sameer; Tishkoff, Sarah A.

    2010-01-01

    Although Africa is the origin of modern humans, the pattern and distribution of genetic variation and correlations with cultural and linguistic diversity in Africa have been understudied. Recent advances in genomic technology, however, have led to genomewide studies of African samples. In this article, we discuss genetic variation in African populations contextualized with what is known about archaeological and linguistic variation. What emerges from this review is the importance of using independent lines of evidence in the interpretation of genetic and genomic data in the reconstruction of past population histories. PMID:20445100

  4. Complex vibratory patterns in an elephant larynx.

    PubMed

    Herbst, Christian T; Svec, Jan G; Lohscheller, Jörg; Frey, Roland; Gumpenberger, Michaela; Stoeger, Angela S; Fitch, W Tecumseh

    2013-11-01

    Elephants' low-frequency vocalizations are produced by flow-induced self-sustaining oscillations of laryngeal tissue. To date, little is known in detail about the vibratory phenomena in the elephant larynx. Here, we provide a first descriptive report of the complex oscillatory features found in the excised larynx of a 25 year old female African elephant (Loxodonta africana), the largest animal sound generator ever studied experimentally. Sound production was documented with high-speed video, acoustic measurements, air flow and sound pressure level recordings. The anatomy of the larynx was studied with computed tomography (CT) and dissections. Elephant CT vocal anatomy data were further compared with the anatomy of an adult human male. We observed numerous unusual phenomena, not typically reported in human vocal fold vibrations. Phase delays along both the inferior-superior and anterior-posterior (A-P) dimension were commonly observed, as well as transverse travelling wave patterns along the A-P dimension, previously not documented in the literature. Acoustic energy was mainly created during the instant of glottal opening. The vestibular folds, when adducted, participated in tissue vibration, effectively increasing the generated sound pressure level by 12 dB. The complexity of the observed phenomena is partly attributed to the distinct laryngeal anatomy of the elephant larynx, which is not simply a large-scale version of its human counterpart. Travelling waves may be facilitated by low fundamental frequencies and increased vocal fold tension. A travelling wave model is proposed, to account for three types of phenomena: A-P travelling waves, 'conventional' standing wave patterns, and irregular vocal fold vibration.

  5. Estimation of the ancestral effective population sizes of African great apes under different selection regimes.

    PubMed

    Schrago, Carlos G

    2014-08-01

    Reliable estimates of ancestral effective population sizes are necessary to unveil the population-level phenomena that shaped the phylogeny and molecular evolution of the African great apes. Although several methods have previously been applied to infer ancestral effective population sizes, an analysis of the influence of the selective regime on the estimates of ancestral demography has not been thoroughly conducted. In this study, three independent data sets under different selective regimes were used were composed to tackle this issue. The results showed that selection had a significant impact on the estimates of ancestral effective population sizes of the African great apes. The inference of the ancestral demography of African great apes was affected by the selection regime. The effects, however, were not homogeneous along the ancestral populations of great apes. The effective population size of the ancestor of humans and chimpanzees was more impacted by the selection regime when compared to the same parameter in the ancestor of humans, chimpanzees and gorillas. Because the selection regime influenced the estimates of ancestral effective population size, it is reasonable to assume that a portion of the discrepancy found in previous studies that inferred the ancestral effective population size may be attributable to the differential action of selection on the genes sampled.

  6. Modifiable determinants of healthcare utilization within the African-American population.

    PubMed Central

    Rust, George; Fryer, George E.; Phillips, Robert L.; Daniels, Elvan; Strothers, Harry; Satcher, David

    2004-01-01

    BACKGROUND: Significant health disparities directly affect the African-American population. Most previous studies of disparities in access to and utilization of healthcare have focused on black-white differences rather than focusing on "within-group" analysis of African Americans. OBJECTIVE: To tease out the differential effects of modifiable risk factors (such as health insurance, usual source of care, and poverty) from personal characteristics (age, gender, rural residence) on healthcare utilization within the African-American population. METHODS: Secondary data analysis of 3462 records from African-American respondents to the 1999 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) Household File, a nationally representative survey of the civilian, noninstitutionalized U.S. population in 1999. RESULTS: We found significant variation in the number of office visits, outpatient clinic visits, hospital discharges, days hospitalized, and fills of prescribed medication among 3462 African-American respondents who represent a U.S. population of 36,538,639 persons. Personal nonmodifiable characteristics such as age and gender were significantly related to healthcare utilization. Poverty and rural residence were also significantly correlated, but the strongest modifiable predictors of healthcare utilization for Afrcan-American persons in 1999 were whether or not individuals had health insurance and/or a usual source of care. Emergency department visits were the only form of care that showed remarkably little variation based on these modifiable risk factors. CONCLUSIONS: The three modifiable factors of poverty, uninsurance, and having a primary care medical home have a dramatic effect on patterns of care for African-American patients and could be independently targeted for intervention. PMID:15481745

  7. Sex estimation using diagonal diameter measurements of molar teeth in African American populations.

    PubMed

    Peckmann, Tanya R; Meek, Susan; Dilkie, Natasha; Mussett, Michelle

    2015-11-01

    Teeth are often recovered in forensic cases due to their postmortem longevity. The goal of the present research was to investigate the degree of sexual dimorphism in the permanent molars of African Americans using crown and cervical diagonal diameters. Discriminant functions developed from a modern Greek population were tested for accuracy of sex estimation in an African American population. One hundred and three (53 males and 50 females) individuals ranging in age from 16 years to 66 years old were used from the Robert J. Terry Anatomical Skeletal Collection. Four diagonal diameter measurements were taken for each of the left mandibular and maxillary molars: mesiobuccal-distolingual crown diameter, mesiolingual-distobuccal crown diameter, mesiobuccal-distolingual cervical diameter, and mesiolingual-distobuccal cervical diameter. The overall percentage of accuracy of the modern Greek discriminant functions when applied to the African American sample was between 53.8% and 63.6%. Males were more accurately classified (93.6%-100%) than females (0%-18.2%). The African American population specific direct discriminant functions showed accuracy rates from 72.6% to 100% for the original data and 40%-72.3% for the cross-validated data. The African American stepwise discriminant functions showed accuracy rates from 63.9% to 77.6% for the original and cross-validated data. Comparisons to other populations were made. The results suggest that, in teeth, there is variation in the degree of sexual dimorphism between populations and discriminant functions for sex estimation in dentition are population specific.

  8. Gene-centric meta-analysis of lipid traits in African, East Asian and Hispanic populations

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Meta-analyses of European populations has successfully identified genetic variants in over 100 loci associated with lipid levels, but our knowledge in other ethnicities remains limited. To address this, we performed dense genotyping of circa 2,000 candidate genes in 7,657 African Americans, 1,315 Hi...

  9. Temporal pattern of africanization in a feral honeybee population from Texas inferred from mitochondrial DNA.

    PubMed

    Pinto, M Alice; Rubink, William L; Coulson, Robert N; Patton, John C; Johnston, J Spencer

    2004-05-01

    The invasion of Africanized honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) in the Americas provides a window of opportunity to study the dynamics of secondary contact of subspecies of bees that evolved in allopatry in ecologically distinctive habitats of the Old World. We report here the results of an 11-year mitochondrial DNA survey of a feral honeybee population from southern United States (Texas). The mitochondrial haplotype (mitotype) frequencies changed radically during the 11-year study period. Prior to immigration of Africanized honeybees, the resident population was essentially of eastern and western European maternal ancestry. Three years after detection of the first Africanized swarm there was a mitotype turnover in the population from predominantly eastern European to predominantly A. m. scutellata (ancestor of Africanized honeybees). This remarkable change in the mitotype composition coincided with arrival of the parasitic mite Varroa destructor, which was likely responsible for severe losses experienced by colonies of European ancestry. From 1997 onward the population stabilized with most colonies of A. m. scutellata maternal origin.

  10. Breast cancer incidence and mortality in a Caribbean population: comparisons with African-Americans.

    PubMed

    Hennis, Anselm J; Hambleton, Ian R; Wu, Suh-Yuh; Leske, Maria Cristina; Nemesure, Barbara

    2009-01-15

    We describe breast cancer incidence and mortality in the predominantly African-origin population of Barbados, which shares an ancestral origin with African-Americans. Age-standardized incidence rates were calculated from histologically confirmed breast cancer cases identified during a 45-month period (July 2002-March 2006). Mortality rates were estimated from death registrations over 10-years starting January 1995. There were 396 incident cases of breast cancer for an incidence rate of 78.1 (95% confidence interval (CI) 70.5-86.3), standardized to the US population. Breast cancer incidence in African-Americans between 2000 and 2004 was 143.7 (142.0-145.5) per 100,000. Incidence peaked at 226.6 (174.5-289.4) per 100,000 among Barbadian women aged 50-54 years, and declined thereafter, a pattern in marked contrast to trends in African-American women, whose rates continued to increase to a peak of 483.5 per 100,000 in those aged 75-79 years. Incidence rate ratios comparing Barbadian and African-American women showed no statistically significant differences among women aged>or=55 years (pAfrican-American women may suggest a greater contribution from genetic factors in younger women, and from environmental factors in older women. Studies in intermediate risk populations, such as Barbados, may assist the understanding of racial disparities in breast cancer.

  11. Fetal lung development in the elephant reflects the adaptations required for snorkeling in adult life.

    PubMed

    West, John B; Fu, Zhenxing; Gaeth, Ann P; Short, Roger V

    2003-11-14

    The adult elephant is unique among mammals in that the pleural membranes are thickened and the pleural cavity is obliterated by connective tissue. It has been suggested that this peculiar anatomy developed because the animal can snorkel at depth, and this behavior subjects the microvessels in the parietal pleura to a very large transmural pressure. To investigate the development of the parietal pleura, the thickness of the endothoracic fascia (ET) was measured in four fetal African elephants of approximate gestational age 111-130 days, and the appearances were compared with those in human, rabbit, rat and mouse fetuses of approximately the same stage of lung organogenesis. The mean thicknesses of ET in the elephant, human, rabbit, rat and mouse were 403, 53, 29, 27 and 37 microm, respectively. This very early development of a thick parietal pleura in the elephant fetus is consistent with the hypothesis of a long history of snorkeling in the elephant's putative aquatic ancestors.

  12. Observations on Barclay's elephant.

    PubMed

    Kaufman, M H

    1996-04-01

    This account attempts to trace the fate of the skeleton of an elephant that was gifted by George Ballingall to Dr John Barclay, one of the most important teachers of Anatomy in Edinburgh during the early 19th century. In his will, Barclay gifted his human and comparative anatomy collections, including the elephant, to the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh on two conditions, that a hall should be built to house the collection, and that it should be associated with his name in perpetuity. In the 1830s, the comparative collection, but particularly the skeleton of the elephant, was the pride of the College. Unfortunately, interest in the comparative material rapidly diminished, and, due to constraints on space, while the elephant's skull was retained the rest of the skeleton was disposed of. An unpublished poem written at the time of the Burke trial, in 1829, testifies to the fact that Barclay's elephant was closely associated in the minds of the public with the activities of Dr Robert Knox, the then Conservator of the College museum.

  13. Identification of a novel locus associated with skin colour in African-admixed populations

    PubMed Central

    Hernandez-Pacheco, Natalia; Flores, Carlos; Alonso, Santos; Eng, Celeste; Mak, Angel C. Y.; Hunstman, Scott; Hu, Donglei; White, Marquitta J.; Oh, Sam S.; Meade, Kelley; Farber, Harold J.; Avila, Pedro C.; Serebrisky, Denise; Thyne, Shannon M.; Brigino-Buenaventura, Emerita; Rodriguez-Cintron, William; Sen, Saunak; Kumar, Rajesh; Lenoir, Michael; Rodriguez-Santana, Jose R.; Burchard, Esteban G.; Pino-Yanes, Maria

    2017-01-01

    Skin pigmentation is a complex trait that varies largely among populations. Most genome-wide association studies of this trait have been performed in Europeans and Asians. We aimed to uncover genes influencing skin colour in African-admixed individuals. We performed a genome-wide association study of melanin levels in 285 Hispanic/Latino individuals from Puerto Rico, analyzing 14 million genetic variants. A total of 82 variants with p-value ≤1 × 10−5 were followed up in 373 African Americans. Fourteen single nucleotide polymorphisms were replicated, of which nine were associated with skin colour at genome-wide significance in a meta-analysis across the two studies. These results validated the association of two previously known skin pigmentation genes, SLC24A5 (minimum p = 2.62 × 10−14, rs1426654) and SLC45A2 (minimum p = 9.71 × 10−10, rs16891982), and revealed the intergenic region of BEND7 and PRPF18 as a novel locus associated with this trait (minimum p = 4.58 × 10−9, rs6602666). The most significant variant within this region is common among African-descent populations but not among Europeans or Native Americans. Our findings support the advantages of analyzing African-admixed populations to discover new genes influencing skin pigmentation. PMID:28300201

  14. African genetic ancestry is associated with a protective effect on Dengue severity in colombian populations.

    PubMed

    Chacón-Duque, Juan Camilo; Adhikari, Kaustubh; Avendaño, Efren; Campo, Omer; Ramirez, Ruth; Rojas, Winston; Ruiz-Linares, Andrés; Restrepo, Berta Nelly; Bedoya, Gabriel

    2014-10-01

    The wide variation in severity displayed during Dengue Virus (DENV) infection may be influenced by host susceptibility. In several epidemiological approaches, differences in disease outcomes have been found between some ethnic groups, suggesting that human genetic background has an important role in disease severity. In the Caribbean, It has been reported that populations of African descent present considerable less frequency of severe forms compared with Mestizo and White self-reported groups. Admixed populations offer advantages for genetic epidemiology studies due to variation and distribution of alleles, such as those involved in disease susceptibility, as well to provide explanations of individual variability in clinical outcomes. The current study analysed three Colombian populations, which like most of Latin American populations, are made up of the product of complex admixture processes between European, Native American and African ancestors; having as a main goal to assess the effect of genetic ancestry, estimated with 30 Ancestry Informative Markers (AIMs), on DENV infection severity. We found that African ancestry has a protective effect against severe outcomes under several systems of clinical classification: Severe Dengue (OR: 0.963 for every 1% increase in African ancestry, 95% confidence interval (0.934-0.993), p-value: 0.016), Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (OR: 0.969, 95% CI (0.947-0.991), p-value: 0.006), and occurrence of haemorrhages (OR: 0.971, 95% CI (0.952-0.989), p-value: 0.002). Conversely, decrease from 100% to 0% African ancestry significantly increases the chance of severe outcomes: OR is 44-fold for Severe Dengue, 24-fold for Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever, and 20-fold for occurrence of haemorrhages. Furthermore, several warning signs also showed statistically significant association given more evidences in specific stages of DENV infection. These results provide consistent evidence in order to infer statistical models providing a framework for

  15. Strategies for successful conduct of research with low-income African American populations.

    PubMed

    Adderley-Kelly, Beatrice; Green, Pauline M

    2005-01-01

    Health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities are associated with poor health outcomes. African Americans bear a disproportionate amount of the burden of health disparities. The elimination of health disparities among the nation's racial and ethnic groups requires immediate action that the health care community cannot accomplish in isolation. Eliminating health disparities calls for new and non-traditional partnerships across diverse sectors of the community that include research initiatives using culturally competent and participatory action methodologies. While there is much evidence documenting health disparities in racial and ethnic groups, there is little evidence of successful interventions that address health disparities in African Americans. Furthermore, there is little direction for successful strategies for recruiting African Americans for participation in health disparities research. This article addresses important factors to consider when conducting research with low income African Americans based on the authors' research experience in health promotion and cancer detection and prevention. Strategies for successful conduct of research with low income African American populations are offered.

  16. Role of MYH9 and APOL1 in African and non-African populations with Lupus Nephritis

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Chee Paul; Adrianto, Indra; Lessard, Christopher J.; Kelly, Jennifer A.; Kaufman, Kenneth M.; Guthridge, Joel M.; Freedman, Barry I.; Anaya, Juan-Manuel; Alarcón-Riquelme, Marta E.; Pons-Estel, Bernardo A.; Martin, Javier; Glenn, Stuart; Adler, Adam; Bae, Sang-Cheol; Park, So-Yeon; Bang, So-Young; Song, Yeong-Wook; Boackle, Susan A.; Brown, Elizabeth E.; Edberg, Jeffrey C.; Alarcón, Graciela S.; Petri, Michelle A.; Criswell, Lindsey A.; Ramsey-Goldman, Rosalind; Reveille, John D.; Vila, Luis M.; Gilkeson, Gary S.; Kamen, Diane L.; Ziegler, Julie; Jacob, Chaim O.; Rasmussen, Astrid; James, Judith A.; Kimberly, Robert P.; Merrill, Joan T.; Niewold, Timothy B.; Scofield, R. Hal; Stevens, Anne M.; Tsao, Betty P.; Vyse, Timothy J.; Langefeld, Carl D.; Moser, Kathy L.; Harley, John B.; Gaffney, Patrick M.; Montgomery, Courtney G.

    2012-01-01

    Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex autoimmune disease characterized by autoantibody production and organ damage. Lupus nephritis (LN) is one of the most severe manifestations of SLE. Multiple studies reported associations between renal diseases and variants in the non-muscle myosin heavy chain 9 (MYH9) and the neighboring apolipoprotein L 1 (APOL1) genes. We evaluated 167 variants spanning MYH9 for association with LN in a multiethnic sample. The two previously identified risk variants in APOL1 were also tested for association with LN in European-Americans (EAs) (N = 579) and African-Americans (AAs) (N = 407). Multiple peaks of association exceeding a Bonferroni corrected p-value of p < 2.03 × 10−3 were observed between LN and MYH9 in EAs (N=4620), with the most pronounced association at rs2157257 (p = 4.7 × 10−4; odds ratio [OR]=1.205). A modest effect with MYH9 was also detected in Gullah (rs8136069, p = 0.0019, OR = 2.304). No association between LN and MYH9 was found in AAs, Asians, Amerindians or Hispanics. This study provides the first investigation of MYH9 in LN in non-Africans and of APOL1 in LN in any population and presents novel insight into the potential role of MYH9 in LN in EAs. PMID:22189356

  17. Quantity and Configuration of Available Elephant Habitat and Related Conservation Concerns in the Lower Kinabatangan Floodplain of Sabah, Malaysia

    PubMed Central

    Estes, Jason G.; Othman, Nurzhafarina; Ismail, Sulaiman; Ancrenaz, Marc; Goossens, Benoit; Ambu, Laurentius N.; Estes, Anna B.; Palmiotto, Peter A.

    2012-01-01

    The approximately 300 (298, 95% CI: 152–581) elephants in the Lower Kinabatangan Managed Elephant Range in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo are a priority sub-population for Borneo's total elephant population (2,040, 95% CI: 1,184–3,652). Habitat loss and human-elephant conflict are recognized as the major threats to Bornean elephant survival. In the Kinabatangan region, human settlements and agricultural development for oil palm drive an intense fragmentation process. Electric fences guard against elephant crop raiding but also remove access to suitable habitat patches. We conducted expert opinion-based least-cost analyses, to model the quantity and configuration of available suitable elephant habitat in the Lower Kinabatangan, and called this the Elephant Habitat Linkage. At 184 km2, our estimate of available habitat is 54% smaller than the estimate used in the State's Elephant Action Plan for the Lower Kinabatangan Managed Elephant Range (400 km2). During high flood levels, available habitat is reduced to only 61 km2. As a consequence, short-term elephant densities are likely to surge during floods to 4.83 km−2 (95% CI: 2.46–9.41), among the highest estimated for forest-dwelling elephants in Asia or Africa. During severe floods, the configuration of remaining elephant habitat and the surge in elephant density may put two villages at elevated risk of human-elephant conflict. Lower Kinabatangan elephants are vulnerable to the natural disturbance regime of the river due to their limited dispersal options. Twenty bottlenecks less than one km wide throughout the Elephant Habitat Linkage, have the potential to further reduce access to suitable habitat. Rebuilding landscape connectivity to isolated habitat patches and to the North Kinabatangan Managed Elephant Range (less than 35 km inland) are conservation priorities that would increase the quantity of available habitat, and may work as a mechanism to allow population release, lower elephant density, reduce human-elephant

  18. Extensive Copy Number Variations in Admixed Indian Population of African Ancestry: Potential Involvement in Adaptation

    PubMed Central

    Dash, Debasis; Mukerji, Mitali

    2014-01-01

    Admixture mapping has been enormously resourceful in identifying genetic variations linked to phenotypes, adaptation, and diseases. In this study through analysis of copy number variable regions (CNVRs), we report extensive restructuring in the genomes of the recently admixed African-Indian population (OG-W-IP) that inhabits a highly saline environment in Western India. The study included subjects from OG-W-IP (OG), five different Indian and three HapMap populations that were genotyped using Affymetrix version 6.0 arrays. Copy number variations (CNVs) detected using Birdsuite were used to define CNVRs. Population structure with respect to CNVRs was delineated using random forest approach. OG genomes have a surprising excess of CNVs in comparison to other studied populations. Individual ancestry proportions computed using STRUCTURE also reveals a unique genetic component in OGs. Population structure analysis with CNV genotypes indicates OG to be distant from both the African and Indian ancestral populations. Interestingly, it shows genetic proximity with respect to CNVs to only one Indian population IE-W-LP4, which also happens to reside in the same geographical region. We also observe a significant enrichment of molecular processes related to ion binding and receptor activity in genes encompassing OG-specific CNVRs. Our results suggest that retention of CNVRs from ancestral natives and de novo acquisition of CNVRs could accelerate the process of adaptation especially in an extreme environment. Additionally, this population would be enormously useful for dissecting genes and delineating the involvement of CNVs in salt adaptation. PMID:25398783

  19. Elephant brain. Part I: gross morphology, functions, comparative anatomy, and evolution.

    PubMed

    Shoshani, Jeheskel; Kupsky, William J; Marchant, Gary H

    2006-06-30

    We report morphological data on brains of four African, Loxodonta africana, and three Asian elephants, Elephas maximus, and compare findings to literature. Brains exhibit a gyral pattern more complex and with more numerous gyri than in primates, humans included, and in carnivores, but less complex than in cetaceans. Cerebral frontal, parietal, temporal, limbic, and insular lobes are well developed, whereas the occipital lobe is relatively small. The insula is not as opercularized as in man. The temporal lobe is disproportionately large and expands laterally. Humans and elephants have three parallel temporal gyri: superior, middle, and inferior. Hippocampal sizes in elephants and humans are comparable, but proportionally smaller in elephant. A possible carotid rete was observed at the base of the brain. Brain size appears to be related to body size, ecology, sociality, and longevity. Elephant adult brain averages 4783 g, the largest among living and extinct terrestrial mammals; elephant neonate brain averages 50% of its adult brain weight (25% in humans). Cerebellar weight averages 18.6% of brain (1.8 times larger than in humans). During evolution, encephalization quotient has increased by 10-fold (0.2 for extinct Moeritherium, approximately 2.0 for extant elephants). We present 20 figures of the elephant brain, 16 of which contain new material. Similarities between human and elephant brains could be due to convergent evolution; both display mosaic characters and are highly derived mammals. Humans and elephants use and make tools and show a range of complex learning skills and behaviors. In elephants, the large amount of cerebral cortex, especially in the temporal lobe, and the well-developed olfactory system, structures associated with complex learning and behavioral functions in humans, may provide the substrate for such complex skills and behavior.

  20. Molecular Diagnosis of Inherited Retinal Diseases in Indigenous African Populations by Whole-Exome Sequencing

    PubMed Central

    Roberts, Lisa; Ratnapriya, Rinki; du Plessis, Morné; Chaitankar, Vijender; Ramesar, Raj S.; Swaroop, Anand

    2016-01-01

    Purpose A majority of genes associated with inherited retinal diseases (IRDs) have been identified in patients of European origin. Indigenous African populations exhibit rich genomic diversity, and evaluation of reported genetic mutations has yielded low returns so far. Our goal was to perform whole-exome sequencing (WES) to examine variants in known IRD genes in underrepresented African cohorts. Methods Whole-exome sequencing was performed on 56 samples from 16 families with diverse IRD phenotypes that had remained undiagnosed after screening for known mutations using genotyping-based microarrays (Asper Ophthalmics). Variants in reported IRD genes were identified using WES and validated by Sanger sequencing. Custom TaqMan assays were used to screen for identified mutations in 193 unrelated indigenous Africans with IRDs. Results A total of 3494 variants were identified in 217 known IRD genes, leading to the identification of seven different mutations (including six novel) in six genes (RHO, PRPF3, PRPF31, ABCA4, CERKL, and PDE6B) in six distinct families. TaqMan screening in additional probands revealed identical homozygous CERKL and PDE6B variants in four more patients. Conclusions This is the first report of WES of patients with IRDs in indigenous African populations. Our study identified genetic defects in almost 40% of the families analyzed, significantly enhancing the molecular diagnosis of IRD in South Africa. Thus, WES of understudied cohorts seems to present an effective strategy for determining novel mutations in heterogeneous retinal diseases. PMID:27898983

  1. Liquid semen storage in elephants (Elephas maximus and Loxodonta africana): species differences and storage optimization.

    PubMed

    Kiso, Wendy K; Brown, Janine L; Siewerdt, Frank; Schmitt, Dennis L; Olson, Deborah; Crichton, Elizabeth G; Pukazhenthi, Budhan S

    2011-01-01

    Artificial insemination plays a key role in the genetic management of elephants in zoos. Because freshly extended semen is typically used for artificial insemination in elephants, it has become imperative to optimize conditions for liquid storage and semen transport. The objectives of this study were to examine the interactions between different extenders and storage temperatures on sperm total motility, progressive motility, and acrosomal integrity in Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephants. Ejaculates were collected by rectal massage, diluted using a split-sample technique in 5 semen extenders: TL-Hepes (HEP), Modena (MOD), Biladyl (BIL), TEST refrigeration medium (TES), and INRA96 (INR), maintained at 35°C, 22°C, or 4°C. At 0, 4, 6, 12, and 24 hours, aliquots were removed and assessed for sperm total motility, progressive motility, and acrosomal integrity. After 24 hours of storage, African elephant spermatozoa exhibited greater longevity and higher values in sperm quality parameters compared with those of Asian elephants. In both species, semen storage at 35°C resulted in a sharp decline in all sperm quality parameters after 4 hours of storage, whereas storage at 22°C and 4°C facilitated sperm survival. In Asian elephants, MOD and HEP were most detrimental, whereas BIL, TES, and INR maintained motility up to 12 hours when spermatozoa were cooled to 22°Cor4°C. In African elephants, there were no differences among extenders. All media maintained good sperm quality parameters at 22°C or 4°C. However, although MOD, BIL, and INR were most effective at lower temperatures, HEP and TES maintained sperm motility at all storage temperatures. This study demonstrated sperm sensitivity to components of various semen extenders and storage temperatures and offers recommendations for semen extender choices for liquid semen storage for both Asian and African elephants.

  2. Complex Ancient Genetic Structure and Cultural Transitions in Southern African Populations

    PubMed Central

    Montinaro, Francesco; Busby, George B. J.; Gonzalez-Santos, Miguel; Oosthuitzen, Ockie; Oosthuitzen, Erika; Anagnostou, Paolo; Destro-Bisol, Giovanni; Pascali, Vincenzo L.; Capelli, Cristian

    2017-01-01

    The characterization of the structure of southern African populations has been the subject of numerous genetic, medical, linguistic, archaeological, and anthropological investigations. Current diversity in the subcontinent is the result of complex events of genetic admixture and cultural contact between early inhabitants and migrants that arrived in the region over the last 2000 years. Here, we analyze 1856 individuals from 91 populations, comprising novel and published genotype data, to characterize the genetic ancestry profiles of 631 individuals from 51 southern African populations. Combining both local ancestry and allele frequency based analyses, we identify a tripartite, ancient, Khoesan-related genetic structure. This structure correlates neither with linguistic affiliation nor subsistence strategy, but with geography, revealing the importance of isolation-by-distance dynamics in the area. Fine-mapping of these components in southern African populations reveals admixture and cultural reversion involving several Khoesan groups, and highlights that Bantu speakers and Coloured individuals have different mixtures of these ancient ancestries. PMID:27838627

  3. The role of ancestry in TB susceptibility of an admixed South African population.

    PubMed

    Daya, Michelle; van der Merwe, Lize; van Helden, Paul D; Möller, Marlo; Hoal, Eileen G

    2014-07-01

    Genetic susceptibility to tuberculosis (TB) has been well established and this, taken together with variation in susceptibility observed between different geographic and ethnic populations, implies that susceptibility to TB may in part be affected by ethnicity. In a previous genome-wide TB case-control study (642 cases and 91 controls) of the admixed South African Coloured (SAC) population, we found a positive correlation between African San ancestry and TB susceptibility, and negative correlations with European and Asian ancestries. Since genome-wide data was available for only a small number of controls in the previous study, we endeavored to validate this finding by genotyping a panel of ancestry informative markers (AIMs) in additional individuals, yielding a data set of 918 cases and 507 controls. Ancestry proportions were estimated using the AIMs for each of the source populations of the SAC (African San, African non-San, European, South Asian and East Asian). Using logistic regression models to test for association between TB and ancestry, we confirmed the substantial effect of ancestry on TB susceptibility. We also investigated the effect of adjusting for ancestry in candidate gene TB association studies of the SAC. We report a polymorphism that is no longer significantly associated with TB after adjustment for ancestry, a polymorphism that is significantly associated with TB only after adjustment for ancestry, and a polymorphism where the association significance remains unchanged. By comparing the allele frequencies of these polymorphisms in the source populations of the SAC, we demonstrate that association results are likely to be affected by adjustment for ancestry if allele frequencies differ markedly in the source populations of the SAC.

  4. Demographic Variables for Wild Asian Elephants Using Longitudinal Observations

    PubMed Central

    de Silva, Shermin; Webber, C. Elizabeth; Weerathunga, U. S.; Pushpakumara, T. V.; Weerakoon, Devaka K.; Wittemyer, George

    2013-01-01

    Detailed demographic data on wild Asian elephants have been difficult to collect due to habitat characteristics of much of the species’ remaining range. Such data, however, are critical for understanding and modeling population processes in this endangered species. We present data from six years of an ongoing study of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in Uda Walawe National Park, Sri Lanka. This relatively undisturbed population numbering over one thousand elephants is individually monitored, providing cohort-based information on mortality and reproduction. Reproduction was seasonal, such that most births occurred during the long inter-monsoon dry season and peaked in May. During the study, the average age at first reproduction was 13.4 years and the 50th percentile inter-birth interval was approximately 6 years. Birth sex ratios did not deviate significantly from parity. Fecundity was relatively stable throughout the observed reproductive life of an individual (ages 11–60), averaging between 0.13–0.17 female offspring per individual per year. Mortalities and injuries based on carcasses and disappearances showed that males were significantly more likely than females to be killed or injured through anthropogenic activity. Overall, however, most observed injuries did not appear to be fatal. This population exhibits higher fecundity and density relative to published estimates on other Asian elephant populations, possibly enhanced by present range constriction. Understanding the factors responsible for these demographic dynamics can shed insight on the future needs of this elephant population, with probable parallels to other populations in similar settings. PMID:24376581

  5. Estimating African American admixture proportions by use of population-specific alleles.

    PubMed Central

    Parra, E J; Marcini, A; Akey, J; Martinson, J; Batzer, M A; Cooper, R; Forrester, T; Allison, D B; Deka, R; Ferrell, R E; Shriver, M D

    1998-01-01

    We analyzed the European genetic contribution to 10 populations of African descent in the United States (Maywood, Illinois; Detroit; New York; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Baltimore; Charleston, South Carolina; New Orleans; and Houston) and in Jamaica, using nine autosomal DNA markers. These markers either are population-specific or show frequency differences >45% between the parental populations and are thus especially informative for admixture. European genetic ancestry ranged from 6.8% (Jamaica) to 22.5% (New Orleans). The unique utility of these markers is reflected in the low variance associated with these admixture estimates (SEM 1.3%-2.7%). We also estimated the male and female European contribution to African Americans, on the basis of informative mtDNA (haplogroups H and L) and Y Alu polymorphic markers. Results indicate a sex-biased gene flow from Europeans, the male contribution being substantially greater than the female contribution. mtDNA haplogroups analysis shows no evidence of a significant maternal Amerindian contribution to any of the 10 populations. We detected significant nonrandom association between two markers located 22 cM apart (FY-null and AT3), most likely due to admixture linkage disequilibrium created in the interbreeding of the two parental populations. The strength of this association and the substantial genetic distance between FY and AT3 emphasize the importance of admixed populations as a useful resource for mapping traits with different prevalence in two parental populations. PMID:9837836

  6. No evidence for a large difference in ALS frequency in populations of African and European origin: a population based study in inner city London.

    PubMed

    Rojas-Garcia, Ricardo; Scott, Kirsten M; Roche, Jose Carlos; Scotton, William; Martin, Naomi; Janssen, Anna; Goldstein, Laura H; Leigh, P Nigel; Ellis, Cathy M; Shaw, Christopher E; Al-Chalabi, Ammar

    2012-01-01

    Abstract Previous studies have suggested a lower incidence of ALS in people of African origin. We used a population based register in an urban setting from inner city London postcodes where there is a large population of people of African ancestry to compare the frequency of ALS in people of European and African origin. Population statistics stratified by age, gender and ethnicity were obtained from the 2001 census. Incidence and prevalence were calculated in each ethnic group. Results showed that in a population of 683,194, of which 22% were of African ancestry, 88 individuals with ALS were identified over a seven-year period, including 14 people with African ancestry. The adjusted incidence in people of African ancestry was 1.35 per 100,000 person-years (95% CI 0.72-2.3) and in those of European ancestry 1.97 per 100,000 person-years (95% CI 1.55-2.48). In conclusion, in this small population based study we could not detect a difference in rates of ALS between people of African ancestry and those of European ancestry.

  7. Development and Validation of the Body Size Scale for Assessing Body Weight Perception in African Populations

    PubMed Central

    Cohen, Emmanuel; Bernard, Jonathan Y.; Ponty, Amandine; Ndao, Amadou; Amougou, Norbert; Saïd-Mohamed, Rihlat; Pasquet, Patrick

    2015-01-01

    Background The social valorisation of overweight in African populations could promote high-risk eating behaviours and therefore become a risk factor of obesity. However, existing scales to assess body image are usually not accurate enough to allow comparative studies of body weight perception in different African populations. This study aimed to develop and validate the Body Size Scale (BSS) to estimate African body weight perception. Methods Anthropometric measures of 80 Cameroonians and 81 Senegalese were used to evaluate three criteria of adiposity: body mass index (BMI), overall percentage of fat, and endomorphy (fat component of the somatotype). To develop the BSS, the participants were photographed in full face and profile positions. Models were selected for their representativeness of the wide variability in adiposity with a progressive increase along the scale. Then, for the validation protocol, participants self-administered the BSS to assess self-perceived current body size (CBS), desired body size (DBS) and provide a “body self-satisfaction index.” This protocol included construct validity, test-retest reliability and convergent validity and was carried out with three independent samples of respectively 201, 103 and 1115 Cameroonians. Results The BSS comprises two sex-specific scales of photos of 9 models each, and ordered by increasing adiposity. Most participants were able to correctly order the BSS by increasing adiposity, using three different words to define body size. Test-retest reliability was consistent in estimating CBS, DBS and the “body self-satisfaction index.” The CBS was highly correlated to the objective BMI, and two different indexes assessed with the BSS were consistent with declarations obtained in interviews. Conclusion The BSS is the first scale with photos of real African models taken in both full face and profile and representing a wide and representative variability in adiposity. The validation protocol proved its

  8. Review of studies on metabolic genes and cancer in populations of African descent

    PubMed Central

    Ragin, Camille C.; Langevin, Scott; Rubin, Scott; Taioli, Emanuela

    2010-01-01

    Genetic polymorphisms described for a number of enzymes involved in the metabolism of tobacco carcinogens and alcohol have been linked to increase cancer risk. Racial disparities in cancer between Whites and populations of African descent are well documented. In addition to differences in access to health care, both environment and genetic factors and their interaction may contribute to the increased cancer risk in minority populations. We reviewed the literature to identify case-control studies that included subjects of African descent. Meta analyses investigating the association of genetic polymorphisms in tobacco metabolic genes and cancer were performed. While several genes and cancers have been studied, only one or two studies per gene for each cancer site have been published, with the exception of breast (CYP1A1 and CYP1B1), lung (GSTM1, CYP1A1, and NQO1) and prostate (CYP3A4 A293G and CYP17). Marginal statistically significant associations were observed for CYP3A4 A293G and CYP17 5'UTR polymorphisms and prostate cancer. Our findings support the need for additional genetic association studies of breast, prostate and lung cancers that include a larger number of minority participants. Since incidence and mortality rates for these cancers rank highest among populations of African descent concentrated research in these areas are warranted. PMID:20027111

  9. Erratum to: Elephants also like coffee: Trends and drivers of human-elephant conflicts in coffee agroforestry landscapes of Kodagu, Western Ghats, India.

    PubMed

    Bal, P; Nath, C D; Nanaya, K M; Kushalappa, C G; Garcia, C

    2011-08-01

    Kodagu district produces 2% of the world's coffee, in complex, multistoried agroforestry systems. The forests of the district harbour a large population of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). The combined effects of high elephant density and major landscape changes due to the expansion of coffee cultivation are the cause of human-elephant conflicts (HEC). Mitigation strategies, including electric fences and compensation schemes implemented by the Forest Department have met with limited success. Building on previous studies in the area, we assessed current spatial and temporal trends of conflict, analysed local stakeholders' perceptions and identified factors driving elephants into the estates. Our study, initiated in May 2007, shows that the intensity of HEC has increased over the last 10 years, exhibiting new seasonal patterns. Conflict maps and the lack of correlation between physical features of the coffee plantations and elephant visits suggest elephants move along corridors between the eastern and western forests of the district, opportunistically foraging when crossing the plantations. Dung analyses indicate elephants have selectively included ripe coffee berries in their diet. This is, to our knowledge, the first report of wild elephants feeding on coffee berries. If this new behaviour spreads through the population, it will compound an already severe conflict situation. The behavioural plasticity, the multiplicity of stakeholders involved, the difficulty in defining the problem and the limits of technical solutions already proposed suggest that HEC in Kodagu has the ingredients of a "wicked" problem whose resolution will require more shared understanding and problem solving work amongst the stakeholders.

  10. Erratum: Erratum to: Elephants Also Like Coffee: Trends and Drivers of Human-Elephant Conflicts in Coffee Agroforestry Landscapes of Kodagu, Western Ghats, India

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bal, P.; Nath, C. D.; Nanaya, K. M.; Kushalappa, C. G.; Garcia, C.

    2011-08-01

    Kodagu district produces 2% of the world's coffee, in complex, multistoried agroforestry systems. The forests of the district harbour a large population of the Asian elephant ( Elephas maximus). The combined effects of high elephant density and major landscape changes due to the expansion of coffee cultivation are the cause of human-elephant conflicts (HEC). Mitigation strategies, including electric fences and compensation schemes implemented by the Forest Department have met with limited success. Building on previous studies in the area, we assessed current spatial and temporal trends of conflict, analysed local stakeholders' perceptions and identified factors driving elephants into the estates. Our study, initiated in May 2007, shows that the intensity of HEC has increased over the last 10 years, exhibiting new seasonal patterns. Conflict maps and the lack of correlation between physical features of the coffee plantations and elephant visits suggest elephants move along corridors between the eastern and western forests of the district, opportunistically foraging when crossing the plantations. Dung analyses indicate elephants have selectively included ripe coffee berries in their diet. This is, to our knowledge, the first report of wild elephants feeding on coffee berries. If this new behaviour spreads through the population, it will compound an already severe conflict situation. The behavioural plasticity, the multiplicity of stakeholders involved, the difficulty in defining the problem and the limits of technical solutions already proposed suggest that HEC in Kodagu has the ingredients of a "wicked" problem whose resolution will require more shared understanding and problem solving work amongst the stakeholders.

  11. Elephants Also Like Coffee: Trends and Drivers of Human-Elephant Conflicts in Coffee Agroforestry Landscapes of Kodagu, Western Ghats, India

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bal, P.; Nath, C. D.; Nanaya, K. M.; Kushalappa, C. G.; Garcia, C.

    2011-05-01

    Kodagu district produces 2% of the world's coffee, in complex, multistoried agroforestry systems. The forests of the district harbour a large population of the Asian elephant ( Elephas maximus). The combined effects of high elephant density and major landscape changes due to the expansion of coffee cultivation are the cause of human-elephant conflicts (HEC). Mitigation strategies, including electric fences and compensation schemes implemented by the Forest Department have met with limited success. Building on previous studies in the area, we assessed current spatial and temporal trends of conflict, analysed local stakeholders' perceptions and identified factors driving elephants into the estates. Our study, initiated in May 2007, shows that the intensity of HEC has increased over the last 10 years, exhibiting new seasonal patterns. Conflict maps and the lack of correlation between physical features of the coffee plantations and elephant visits suggest elephants move along corridors between the eastern and western forests of the district, opportunistically foraging when crossing the plantations. Dung analyses indicate elephants have selectively included ripe coffee berries in their diet. This is, to our knowledge, the first report of wild elephants feeding on coffee berries. If this new behaviour spreads through the population, it will compound an already severe conflict situation. The behavioural plasticity, the multiplicity of stakeholders involved, the difficulty in defining the problem and the limits of technical solutions already proposed suggest that HEC in Kodagu has the ingredients of a "wicked" problem whose resolution will require more shared understanding and problem solving work amongst the stakeholders.

  12. Elephants also like coffee: trends and drivers of human-elephant conflicts in coffee agroforestry landscapes of Kodagu, Western Ghats, India.

    PubMed

    Bal, P; Nath, C D; Nanaya, K M; Kushalappa, C G; Garcia, C

    2011-05-01

    Kodagu district produces 2% of the world's coffee, in complex, multistoried agroforestry systems. The forests of the district harbour a large population of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). The combined effects of high elephant density and major landscape changes due to the expansion of coffee cultivation are the cause of human-elephant conflicts (HEC). Mitigation strategies, including electric fences and compensation schemes implemented by the Forest Department have met with limited success. Building on previous studies in the area, we assessed current spatial and temporal trends of conflict, analysed local stakeholders' perceptions and identified factors driving elephants into the estates. Our study, initiated in May 2007, shows that the intensity of HEC has increased over the last 10 years, exhibiting new seasonal patterns. Conflict maps and the lack of correlation between physical features of the coffee plantations and elephant visits suggest elephants move along corridors between the eastern and western forests of the district, opportunistically foraging when crossing the plantations. Dung analyses indicate elephants have selectively included ripe coffee berries in their diet. This is, to our knowledge, the first report of wild elephants feeding on coffee berries. If this new behaviour spreads through the population, it will compound an already severe conflict situation. The behavioural plasticity, the multiplicity of stakeholders involved, the difficulty in defining the problem and the limits of technical solutions already proposed suggest that HEC in Kodagu has the ingredients of a "wicked" problem whose resolution will require more shared understanding and problem solving work amongst the stakeholders.

  13. Detection and evaluation of novel herpesviruses in routine and pathological samples from Asian and African elephants: identification of two new probosciviruses (EEHV5 and EEHV6) and two new gammaherpesviruses (EGHV3B and EGHV5).

    PubMed

    Latimer, Erin; Zong, Jian-Chao; Heaggans, Sarah Y; Richman, Laura K; Hayward, Gary S

    2011-01-10

    Systemic infections with elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHV) cause a rapid onset acute hemorrhagic disease with an 85% mortality rate. More than 60 cases have been confirmed worldwide occurring predominantly in juvenile Asian elephants. Originally, three virus types EEHV1A, EEHV1B and EEHV2 were identified, all members of the Proboscivirus genus within the Betaherpesvirinae. However, four elephant gammaherpesviruses (EGHV) have also been found by DNA PCR approaches in eye and genital secretions of asymptomatic animals, and two more versions of the probosciviruses, EEHV3 and EEHV4, were recently detected in acute hemorrhagic disease cases. To ask whether even more species of elephant herpesviruses may exist, we have developed several new diagnostic DNA PCR assays using multiple round primers in the DNA POL region. These have been used routinely for nearly three years to screen samples submitted to the Elephant Herpesvirus Laboratory for diagnosis of possible cases of EEHV disease in blood and necropsy tissue, as well as in biopsies of other suspicious lesions or growths. Several more cases of EEHV1-associated hemorrhagic disease were confirmed, but in addition, we describe here eleven examples of other known and novel herpesviruses detected and evaluated with these reagents. They include the prototypes of four new elephant herpesviruses, two more within the proboscivirus group EEHV5 and EEHV6, plus two more gammaherpesviruses EGHV3B and EGHV5. We also report initial semi-quantitative PCR assays demonstrating very high viral loads in the blood of the EEHV3 and EEHV4-associated hemorrhagic disease cases.

  14. A geometric morphometric approach to the quantification of population variation in sub-Saharan African crania.

    PubMed

    Franklin, Daniel; Cardini, Andrea; Oxnard, Charles E

    2010-01-01

    We report here on new data examining cranial variation in 18 modern human sub-Saharan African populations. Previously, we investigated variation within southern Africa; we now extend our analyses to include a series of Central, East, and West African crania, to further knowledge of the relationships between, and variation and regional morphological patterning in, those populations. The sample comprises 377 male individuals; the three-dimensional coordinates of 96 landmarks are analyzed using Procrustes-based methods. Interpopulation variation is examined by calculating shape distances between groups, which are compared using resampling statistics and parametric tests. Phenotypic variance, as a proxy for genetic variance, is measured and compared across populations. Principal components and cluster analyses are employed to explore relationships between the populations. Shape differences are visualized using three-dimensional rendered models. Observed disparity patterns imply a mix of differences and similarities across populations, with no apparent support for genetic bottlenecks, which is likely a consequence of migrations that may have influenced differences in cranial form; supporting data are found in recent molecular studies. The Pygmy sample had the most distinctive cranial morphology; characteristically small in size with marked prognathism. These features characterized, although less strongly, the neighboring Bateke, and are possibly related to similar selective pressures in conjunction with interbreeding. Small cranial size is also involved in the considerable distinctiveness of the San and Khoikhoi. The statistical procedures applied in this study afford a powerful and robust means of quantifying and visualizing the magnitude and pattern of cranial variation between sub-Saharan African populations.

  15. Recumbence Behavior in Zoo Elephants: Determination of Patterns and Frequency of Recumbent Rest and Associated Environmental and Social Factors

    PubMed Central

    Holdgate, Matthew R.; Meehan, Cheryl L.; Hogan, Jennifer N.; Miller, Lance J.; Rushen, Jeff; de Passillé, Anne Marie; Soltis, Joseph; Andrews, Jeff; Shepherdson, David J.

    2016-01-01

    Resting behaviors are an essential component of animal welfare but have received little attention in zoological research. African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) and Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) rest includes recumbent postures, but no large-scale investigation of African and Asian zoo elephant recumbence has been previously conducted. We used anklets equipped with accelerometers to measure recumbence in 72 adult female African (n = 44) and Asian (n = 28) elephants housed in 40 North American zoos. We collected 344 days of data and determined associations between recumbence and social, housing, management, and demographic factors. African elephants were recumbent less (2.1 hours/day, S.D. = 1.1) than Asian elephants (3.2 hours/day, S.D. = 1.5; P < 0.001). Nearly one-third of elephants were non-recumbent on at least one night, suggesting this is a common behavior. Multi-variable regression models for each species showed that substrate, space, and social variables had the strongest associations with recumbence. In the African model, elephants who spent any amount of time housed on all-hard substrate were recumbent 0.6 hours less per day than those who were never on all-hard substrate, and elephants who experienced an additional acre of outdoor space at night increased their recumbence by 0.48 hours per day. In the Asian model, elephants who spent any amount of time housed on all-soft substrate were recumbent 1.1 hours more per day more than those who were never on all-soft substrate, and elephants who spent any amount of time housed alone were recumbent 0.77 hours more per day than elephants who were never housed alone. Our results draw attention to the significant interspecific difference in the amount of recumbent rest and in the factors affecting recumbence; however, in both species, the influence of flooring substrate is notably important to recumbent rest, and by extension, zoo elephant welfare. PMID:27414809

  16. Child Abuse and the Eye in an African Population

    PubMed Central

    Adebayo, Modupe

    2017-01-01

    Purpose There is a paucity of data on child abuse and the eye in West Africa. Therefore, a need exists to determine the causes and circumstances surrounding these occurrences and their effects on the eye and vision in a pediatric population. Methods A 3-year study of consecutive cases of ocular features that presented to an eye clinic following a history suggestive of child abuse along with any associated eye injury was carried out. Socio-demographic characteristics were obtained, as were the presenting and posttreatment visual acuity, and a full clinical eye examination was also done. Results Fifty-six children with 56 affected eyes were examined. The male to female ratio was 1.8 : 1; the mean age was 8.25 ± 3.5 years; and the subjects were predominately primary school children 30 (53.6%). The most common ocular disorders were conjunctiva hyperemia (46.4%), corneal abrasion/ulcer (25.4%), hyphema/uveitis (42.9%), retinal detachment (7.1%), sclera rupture (7.1%), and globe perforation (21.4%). The intraocular pressure was raised in 17.9% of participants. Presenting versus posttreatment visual acuities showed normal vision in four (7.1%) vs. eighteen (32.1%), visual impairment in 12 (21.4%) vs. six (10.7%), severe visual impairment in 20 (35.7%) vs. 12 (21.4%), and blindness in 12 (21.4%) vs. 14 (25%), p < 0.001. The most common injurious agents were canes (25.0%) and sticks (17.9%). The people who inflicted the injuries were parents/relatives (uncles) in 35.7% of cases and the children themselves (accidents) in 21.4% of cases. Circumstances predisposing participants to eye injuries were child labor in 39.3% and beatings in 25.0%. Complications were cataracts (25.0%), corneal opacity (39.3%), and retinal detachment (7.1%). Conclusions Injuries commonly resulted from canes and sticks used during beatings, as well as from child labor, corporal punishment, accidents, and assaults. Legislation and laws need to be enacted to prevent negative psychosocial and economic

  17. Immunogenetics of the Elephant Seal

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garza, John Carlos

    1999-01-01

    The goals of this cooperative agreement fall into three categories: 1) A basic description of Immunogenetic variation in the northern elephant seal genome; 2) A basic genetic map of the northern elephant seal genome; 3). Microevolutionary forces in the northern elephant seal genome. The results described in this report were acquired using funds from this cooperative agreement together with funds from a National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant.

  18. Elephant (Elephas maximus) Health and Management in Asia: Variations in Veterinary Perspectives

    PubMed Central

    Miller, David; Jackson, Bradford; Riddle, Heidi S.; Stremme, Christopher; Miller, Thaddeus

    2015-01-01

    There is a need to identify strategic investments in Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) health that will yield maximal benefits for overall elephant health and conservation. As an exploratory first step, a survey was administered to veterinarians from Asian elephant range countries at a workshop and via email to help prioritize health-related concerns that will mostly benefit elephants. Responses were received from 45 veterinarians from eight countries that had a range of experience with captive and wild elephants. The occurrence of medical conditions and responses to treatment varied among responses. However, injuries, parasitism, and gastrointestinal disease were reported as the most common syndromes responsible for elephant morbidity, whereas injury and infectious disease not due to parasitism were the most commonly reported sources of elephant mortality. Substandard nutrition, water quality and quantity deficiencies, and inadequate or absent shelter were among the factors listed as barriers to optimal elephant health. While this survey's results do not support definitive conclusions, they can be used to identify where and how subsequent investigations should be directed. Rigorous assessment of the relative costs and benefits of available options is required to ensure that investments in individual and population health yield the maximal benefits for elephants. PMID:25688328

  19. Geometric morphometric study of population variation in indigenous southern African crania.

    PubMed

    Franklin, D; Freedman, L; Milne, N; Oxnard, C E

    2007-01-01

    Much of our understanding of population variation in southern Africa is derived from traditional morphometric research. In the search for new perspectives, this paper reports on new geometric morphometric data examining cranial variation in 12 modern human populations from southern Africa. In total, 298 male Bantu-speaking individuals were studied. In addition, a small Khoisan (Khoikhoi and San) series was also examined. The purpose of this study was to investigate Khoisan-Bantu morphological similarities and differences, and to examine variation within both the Bantu-speaking and Khoisan populations. The three-dimensional coordinates of 96 landmarks were analyzed, using the shape-analysis software morphologika. Interpopulation variation was examined by calculating Procrustes distances between groups; a cluster analysis was then used to summarize phenetic relationships. A principal components analysis explored the relationships between populations; shape differences were visualized and explored using three-dimensional rendered models, and further interpreted using thin-plate splines. Morphological differences are present within and between the crania of Bantu-speaking and Khoisan individuals. The Khoisan demonstrate features (e.g., a pentagonoid vault, more rounded forehead contour, and a small and less prognathic face) that clearly distinguish them from Bantu-speaking populations. Although southern African Bantu-speaking populations are clearly closely related, they show population-specific features (e.g., the crania of more southerly populations (Xhosa, Southern Sotho, and Zulu) are characteristically more brachycephalic and less prognathic). This study suggests that differential admixture with adjacent Khoisan peoples has contributed to diversity within southern African Bantu-speaking populations.

  20. Association studies in QTL regions linked to bovine trypanotolerance in a West African crossbred population.

    PubMed

    Dayo, G K; Gautier, M; Berthier, D; Poivey, J P; Sidibe, I; Bengaly, Z; Eggen, A; Boichard, D; Thevenon, S

    2012-04-01

    African animal trypanosomosis is a parasitic blood disease transmitted by tsetse flies and is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa. West African taurine breeds have the ability, known as trypanotolerance, to limit parasitaemia and anaemia and remain productive in enzootic areas. Several quantitative trait loci (QTL) underlying traits related to trypanotolerance have been identified in an experimentally infected F(2) population resulting from a cross between taurine and zebu cattle. Although this information is highly valuable, the QTL remain to be confirmed in populations subjected to natural conditions of infection, and the corresponding regions need to be refined. In our study, 360 West African cattle were phenotyped for the packed cell volume control under natural conditions of infection in south-western Burkina Faso. Phenotypes were assessed by analysing data from previous cattle monitored over 2 years in an area enzootic for trypanosomosis. We further genotyped for 64 microsatellite markers mapping within four previously reported QTL on BTA02, BTA04, BTA07 and BTA13. These data enabled us to estimate the heritability of the phenotype using the kinship matrix between individuals computed from genotyping data. Thus, depending on the estimators considered and the method used, the heritability of anaemia control ranged from 0.09 to 0.22. Finally, an analysis of association identified an allele of the MNB42 marker on BTA04 as being strongly associated with anaemia control, and a candidate gene, INHBA, as being close to that marker.

  1. Prevalence of sexual violence and posttraumatic stress disorder in an urban African-American population.

    PubMed

    Walsh, Kate; Koenen, Karestan C; Aiello, Allison E; Uddin, Monica; Galea, Sandro

    2014-12-01

    Sexual violence is prevalent nationally and contributes to psychopathology in the general population. Despite elevated traumatic event exposure among economically disadvantaged urban-dwelling African-Americans, there is insufficient information on lifetime sexual violence exposure and associated psychopathology in this population. In 2008-2009, 1,306 African-Americans from a Detroit household probability sample reported on lifetime rape and sexual assault and past-month and lifetime posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Lifetime sexual violence prevalence was 26.3 % for women and 5.1 % for men. Relative to non-victims, sexual violence victims: reported more other traumatic events; had 4 times greater unadjusted odds of past-month and lifetime PTSD; had 1.6 times greater adjusted odds of lifetime PTSD only after controlling for other traumatic events. Sexual violence was associated with increased risk for lifetime PTSD and exposure to other traumas. Findings highlight a need to screen for sexual violence and PTSD among urban African-Americans.

  2. Challenges and disparities in the application of personalized genomic medicine to populations with African ancestry

    PubMed Central

    Kessler, Michael D.; Yerges-Armstrong, Laura; Taub, Margaret A.; Shetty, Amol C.; Maloney, Kristin; Jeng, Linda Jo Bone; Ruczinski, Ingo; Levin, Albert M.; Williams, L. Keoki; Beaty, Terri H.; Mathias, Rasika A.; Barnes, Kathleen C.; Boorgula, Meher Preethi; Campbell, Monica; Chavan, Sameer; Ford, Jean G.; Foster, Cassandra; Gao, Li; Hansel, Nadia N.; Horowitz, Edward; Huang, Lili; Ortiz, Romina; Potee, Joseph; Rafaels, Nicholas; Scott, Alan F.; Vergara, Candelaria; Gao, Jingjing; Hu, Yijuan; Johnston, Henry Richard; Qin, Zhaohui S.; Padhukasahasram, Badri; Dunston, Georgia M.; Faruque, Mezbah U.; Kenny, Eimear E.; Gietzen, Kimberly; Hansen, Mark; Genuario, Rob; Bullis, Dave; Lawley, Cindy; Deshpande, Aniket; Grus, Wendy E.; Locke, Devin P.; Foreman, Marilyn G.; Avila, Pedro C.; Grammer, Leslie; Kim, Kwang-YounA; Kumar, Rajesh; Schleimer, Robert; Bustamante, Carlos; De La Vega, Francisco M.; Gignoux, Chris R.; Shringarpure, Suyash S.; Musharoff, Shaila; Wojcik, Genevieve; Burchard, Esteban G.; Eng, Celeste; Gourraud, Pierre-Antoine; Hernandez, Ryan D.; Lizee, Antoine; Pino-Yanes, Maria; Torgerson, Dara G.; Szpiech, Zachary A.; Torres, Raul; Nicolae, Dan L.; Ober, Carole; Olopade, Christopher O.; Olopade, Olufunmilayo; Oluwole, Oluwafemi; Arinola, Ganiyu; Song, Wei; Abecasis, Goncalo; Correa, Adolfo; Musani, Solomon; Wilson, James G.; Lange, Leslie A.; Akey, Joshua; Bamshad, Michael; Chong, Jessica; Fu, Wenqing; Nickerson, Deborah; Reiner, Alexander; Hartert, Tina; Ware, Lorraine B.; Bleecker, Eugene; Meyers, Deborah; Ortega, Victor E.; Pissamai, Maul R. N.; Trevor, Maul R. N.; Watson, Harold; Araujo, Maria Ilma; Oliveira, Ricardo Riccio; Caraballo, Luis; Marrugo, Javier; Martinez, Beatriz; Meza, Catherine; Ayestas, Gerardo; Herrera-Paz, Edwin Francisco; Landaverde-Torres, Pamela; Erazo, Said Omar Leiva; Martinez, Rosella; Mayorga, Alvaro; Mayorga, Luis F.; Mejia-Mejia, Delmy-Aracely; Ramos, Hector; Saenz, Allan; Varela, Gloria; Vasquez, Olga Marina; Ferguson, Trevor; Knight-Madden, Jennifer; Samms-Vaughan, Maureen; Wilks, Rainford J.; Adegnika, Akim; Ateba-Ngoa, Ulysse; Yazdanbakhsh, Maria; O'Connor, Timothy D.

    2016-01-01

    To characterize the extent and impact of ancestry-related biases in precision genomic medicine, we use 642 whole-genome sequences from the Consortium on Asthma among African-ancestry Populations in the Americas (CAAPA) project to evaluate typical filters and databases. We find significant correlations between estimated African ancestry proportions and the number of variants per individual in all variant classification sets but one. The source of these correlations is highlighted in more detail by looking at the interaction between filtering criteria and the ClinVar and Human Gene Mutation databases. ClinVar's correlation, representing African ancestry-related bias, has changed over time amidst monthly updates, with the most extreme switch happening between March and April of 2014 (r=0.733 to r=−0.683). We identify 68 SNPs as the major drivers of this change in correlation. As long as ancestry-related bias when using these clinical databases is minimally recognized, the genetics community will face challenges with implementation, interpretation and cost-effectiveness when treating minority populations. PMID:27725664

  3. Inferences of demography and selection in an African population of Drosophila melanogaster.

    PubMed

    Singh, Nadia D; Jensen, Jeffrey D; Clark, Andrew G; Aquadro, Charles F

    2013-01-01

    It remains a central problem in population genetics to infer the past action of natural selection, and these inferences pose a challenge because demographic events will also substantially affect patterns of polymorphism and divergence. Thus it is imperative to explicitly model the underlying demographic history of the population whenever making inferences about natural selection. In light of the considerable interest in adaptation in African populations of Drosophila melanogaster, which are considered ancestral to the species, we generated a large polymorphism data set representing 2.1 Mb from each of 20 individuals from a Ugandan population of D. melanogaster. In contrast to previous inferences of a simple population expansion in eastern Africa, our demographic modeling of this ancestral population reveals a strong signature of a population bottleneck followed by population expansion, which has significant implications for future demographic modeling of derived populations of this species. Taking this more complex underlying demographic history into account, we also estimate a mean X-linked region-wide rate of adaptation of 6 × 10(-11)/site/generation and a mean selection coefficient of beneficial mutations of 0.0009. These inferences regarding the rate and strength of selection are largely consistent with most other estimates from D. melanogaster and indicate a relatively high rate of adaptation driven by weakly beneficial mutations.

  4. Large-Scale Selective Sweep among Segregation Distorter Chromosomes in African Populations of Drosophila melanogaster

    PubMed Central

    Presgraves, Daven C.; Gérard, Pierre R.; Cherukuri, Anjuli; Lyttle, Terrence W.

    2009-01-01

    Segregation Distorter (SD) is a selfish, coadapted gene complex on chromosome 2 of Drosophila melanogaster that strongly distorts Mendelian transmission; heterozygous SD/SD + males sire almost exclusively SD-bearing progeny. Fifty years of genetic, molecular, and theory work have made SD one of the best-characterized meiotic drive systems, but surprisingly the details of its evolutionary origins and population dynamics remain unclear. Earlier analyses suggested that the SD system arose recently in the Mediterranean basin and then spread to a low, stable equilibrium frequency (1–5%) in most natural populations worldwide. In this report, we show, first, that SD chromosomes occur in populations in sub-Saharan Africa, the ancestral range of D. melanogaster, at a similarly low frequency (∼2%), providing evidence for the robustness of its equilibrium frequency but raising doubts about the Mediterranean-origins hypothesis. Second, our genetic analyses reveal two kinds of SD chromosomes in Africa: inversion-free SD chromosomes with little or no transmission advantage; and an African-endemic inversion-bearing SD chromosome, SD-Mal, with a perfect transmission advantage. Third, our population genetic analyses show that SD-Mal chromosomes swept across the African continent very recently, causing linkage disequilibrium and an absence of variability over 39% of the length of the second chromosome. Thus, despite a seemingly stable equilibrium frequency, SD chromosomes continue to evolve, to compete with one another, or evade suppressors in the genome. PMID:19412335

  5. High genetic connectivity among estuarine populations of the riverbream Acanthopagrus vagus along the southern African coast

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oosthuizen, Carel J.; Cowley, Paul D.; Kyle, Scotty R.; Bloomer, Paulette

    2016-12-01

    Physical and/or physiological constraints are assumed to isolate fish populations confined to or dependent on estuarine habitats. Strong isolation by distance is thus expected to affect connectivity. Such structuring has important implications for sustainable utilisation and replenishment of estuarine stocks that are heavily exploited. Here we present a preliminary investigation of the phylogenetic relationships of the riverbream (Acanthopagrus species) along the southern African coast and the geographic genetic structure of what appears to be a locally endemic species or lineage. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) cytochrome b sequences support the notion that the species occurring along the southern African coast is A. vagus and not A. berda as previously thought. Yet, the taxonomy of this widespread Indo-West Pacific species or species-complex requires more in-depth investigation. No genetic differentiation was detected among estuarine populations of A. vagus based on the analyses of mtDNA ND2 gene sequences and 10 polymorphic nuclear microsatellite markers. The star-like genealogy and statistical analyses are consistent with a recent population expansion event. Spatial analyses of microsatellite genotypes fail to reject the null hypothesis of panmixia, indicative of a recent population expansion or ongoing gene flow between different estuaries. The northern localities were identified as containing most of the observed variation. This study not only provides insight into the phylogenetic relationship of A. vagus relative to other Acanthopagrus species but also sheds light on the demographic history and contemporary gene flow of the species.

  6. Evaluation of microsatellite markers for populations studies and forensic identification of African lions (Panthera leo).

    PubMed

    Miller, Susan M; Harper, Cindy K; Bloomer, Paulette; Hofmeyr, Jennifer; Funston, Paul J

    2014-01-01

    The South African lion (Panthera leo) population is highly fragmented. One-third of its wild lions occur in small (<1000 km(2)) reserves. These lions were reintroduced from other areas of the species' historical range. Management practices on these reserves have not prioritized genetic provenance or heterozygosity. These trends potentially constrain the conservation value of these lions. To ensure the best management and long-term survival of these subpopulations as a viable collective population, the provenance and current genetic diversity must be described. Concurrently, poaching of lions to supply a growing market for lion bones in Asia may become a serious conservation challenge in the future. Having a standardized, validated method for matching confiscated lion parts with carcasses will be a key tool in investigating these crimes. We evaluated 28 microsatellites in the African lion using samples from 18 small reserves and 1 captive facility in South Africa, two conservancies in Zimbabwe, and Kruger National and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Parks to determine the loci most suited for population management and forensic genetic applications. Twelve microsatellite loci with a match probability of 1.1×10(-5) between siblings were identified for forensics. A further 10 could be added for population genetics studies.

  7. Sahara: Barrier or corridor? Nonmetric cranial traits and biological affinities of North African late Holocene populations.

    PubMed

    Nikita, Efthymia; Mattingly, David; Lahr, Marta Mirazón

    2012-02-01

    The Garamantes flourished in southwestern Libya, in the core of the Sahara Desert ~3,000 years ago and largely controlled trans-Saharan trade. Their biological affinities to other North African populations, including the Egyptian, Algerian, Tunisian and Sudanese, roughly contemporary to them, are examined by means of cranial nonmetric traits using the Mean Measure of Divergence and Mahalanobis D(2) distance. The aim is to shed light on the extent to which the Sahara Desert inhibited extensive population movements and gene flow. Our results show that the Garamantes possess distant affinities to their neighbors. This relationship may be due to the Central Sahara forming a barrier among groups, despite the archaeological evidence for extended networks of contact. The role of the Sahara as a barrier is further corroborated by the significant correlation between the Mahalanobis D(2) distance and geographic distance between the Garamantes and the other populations under study. In contrast, no clear pattern was observed when all North African populations were examined, indicating that there was no uniform gene flow in the region.

  8. The impact of competition on elephant musth strategies: A game-theoretic model.

    PubMed

    Wyse, J Max; Hardy, Ian C W; Yon, Lisa; Mesterton-Gibbons, Mike

    2017-03-21

    Mature male African Savannah elephants are known to periodically enter a temporary state of heightened aggression called "musth", often linked with increased androgens, particularly testosterone. Sexually mature males are capable of entering musth at any time of year, and will often travel long distances to find estrous females. When two musth bulls or two non-musth bulls encounter one another, the agonistic interaction is usually won by the larger male. However, when a smaller musth bull encounters a larger non-musth bull, the smaller musth male can win. The relative mating success of musth males is due partly to this fighting advantage, and partly to estrous females' general preference for musth males. Though musth behavior has long been observed and documented, the evolutionary advantages of musth remain poorly understood. Here we develop a game-theoretic model of male musth behavior which assumes musth duration as a parameter, and distributions of small, medium and large musth males are predicted in both time and space. The predicted results are similar to the musth timing behavior observed in the Amboseli National Park elephant population, and further results are generated with relevance to Samburu National Park. We discuss small male musth behavior, the effects of estrous female spatial heterogeneity on musth timing, conservation applications, and the assumptions underpinning the model.

  9. Inbreeding Avoidance Influences the Viability of Reintroduced Populations of African Wild Dogs (Lycaon pictus)

    PubMed Central

    Becker, Penny A.; Miller, Philip S.; Gunther, Micaela Szykman; Somers, Michael J.; Wildt, David E.; Maldonado, Jesús E.

    2012-01-01

    The conservation of many fragmented and small populations of endangered African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) relies on understanding the natural processes affecting genetic diversity, demographics, and future viability. We used extensive behavioural, life-history, and genetic data from reintroduced African wild dogs in South Africa to (1) test for inbreeding avoidance via mate selection and (2) model the potential consequences of avoidance on population persistence. Results suggested that wild dogs avoided mating with kin. Inbreeding was rare in natal packs, after reproductive vacancies, and between sibling cohorts (observed on 0.8%, 12.5%, and 3.8% of occasions, respectively). Only one of the six (16.7%) breeding pairs confirmed as third-order (or closer) kin consisted of animals that were familiar with each other, while no other paired individuals had any prior association. Computer-simulated populations allowed to experience inbreeding had only a 1.6% probability of extinction within 100 years, whereas all populations avoiding incestuous matings became extinct due to the absence of unrelated mates. Populations that avoided mating with first-order relatives became extinct after 63 years compared with persistence of 37 and 19 years for those also prevented from second-order and third-order matings, respectively. Although stronger inbreeding avoidance maintains significantly more genetic variation, our results demonstrate the potentially severe demographic impacts of reduced numbers of suitable mates on the future viability of small, isolated wild dog populations. The rapid rate of population decline suggests that extinction may occur before inbreeding depression is observed. PMID:22615933

  10. Inbreeding avoidance influences the viability of reintroduced populations of African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus).

    PubMed

    Becker, Penny A; Miller, Philip S; Gunther, Micaela Szykman; Somers, Michael J; Wildt, David E; Maldonado, Jesús E

    2012-01-01

    The conservation of many fragmented and small populations of endangered African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) relies on understanding the natural processes affecting genetic diversity, demographics, and future viability. We used extensive behavioural, life-history, and genetic data from reintroduced African wild dogs in South Africa to (1) test for inbreeding avoidance via mate selection and (2) model the potential consequences of avoidance on population persistence. Results suggested that wild dogs avoided mating with kin. Inbreeding was rare in natal packs, after reproductive vacancies, and between sibling cohorts (observed on 0.8%, 12.5%, and 3.8% of occasions, respectively). Only one of the six (16.7%) breeding pairs confirmed as third-order (or closer) kin consisted of animals that were familiar with each other, while no other paired individuals had any prior association. Computer-simulated populations allowed to experience inbreeding had only a 1.6% probability of extinction within 100 years, whereas all populations avoiding incestuous matings became extinct due to the absence of unrelated mates. Populations that avoided mating with first-order relatives became extinct after 63 years compared with persistence of 37 and 19 years for those also prevented from second-order and third-order matings, respectively. Although stronger inbreeding avoidance maintains significantly more genetic variation, our results demonstrate the potentially severe demographic impacts of reduced numbers of suitable mates on the future viability of small, isolated wild dog populations. The rapid rate of population decline suggests that extinction may occur before inbreeding depression is observed.

  11. Review of Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesviruses and Acute Hemorrhagic Disease

    PubMed Central

    Long, Simon Y.; Latimer, Erin M.; Hayward, Gary S.

    2016-01-01

    More than 100 young captive and wild Asian elephants are known to have died from a rapid-onset, acute hemorrhagic disease caused primarily by multiple distinct strains of two closely related chimeric variants of a novel herpesvirus species designated elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV1A and EEHV1B). These and two other species of Probosciviruses (EEHV4 and EEHV5) are evidently ancient and likely nearly ubiquitous asymptomatic infections of adult Asian elephants worldwide that are occasionally shed in trunk wash secretions. Although only a handful of similar cases have been observed in African elephants, they also have proved to harbor their own multiple and distinct species of Probosciviruses—EEHV2, EEHV3, EEHV6, and EEHV7—found in lung and skin nodules or saliva. For reasons that are not yet understood, approximately 20% of Asian elephant calves appear to be susceptible to the disease when primary infections are not controlled by normal innate cellular and humoral immune responses. Sensitive specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) DNA blood tests have been developed, routine monitoring has been established, the complete large DNA genomes of each of the four Asian EEHV species have now been sequenced, and PCR gene subtyping has provided unambiguous evidence that this is a sporadic rather than epidemic disease that it is not being spread among zoos or other elephant housing facilities. Nevertheless, researchers have not yet been able to propagate EEHV in cell culture, determine whether or not human antiherpesvirus drugs are effective inhibitors, or develop serology assays that can distinguish between antibodies against the multiple different EEHV species. PMID:26912715

  12. Fatal herpesvirus hemorrhagic disease in wild and orphan asian elephants in southern India.

    PubMed

    Zachariah, Arun; Zong, Jian-Chao; Long, Simon Y; Latimer, Erin M; Heaggans, Sarah Y; Richman, Laura K; Hayward, Gary S

    2013-04-01

    Up to 65% of deaths of young Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) between 3 mo and 15 yr of age in Europe and North America over the past 20 yr have been attributed to hemorrhagic disease associated with a novel DNA virus called elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV). To evaluate the potential role of EEHV in suspected cases of a similar lethal acute hemorrhagic disease occurring in southern India, we studied pathologic tissue samples collected from field necropsies. Nine cases among both orphaned camp and wild Asian elephants were identified by diagnostic PCR. These were subjected to detailed gene subtype DNA sequencing at multiple PCR loci, which revealed seven distinct strains of EEHV1A and one of EEHV1B. Two orphan calves that died within 3 days of one another at the same training camp had identical EEHV1A DNA sequences, indicating a common epidemiologic source. However, the high level of EEHV1 subtype genetic diversity found among the other Indian strains matches that among over 30 EEHV1 strains that have been evaluated from Europe and North America. These results argue against the previous suggestions that this is just a disease of captive elephants and that the EEHV1 virus has crossed recently from African elephant (Loxodonta africana) hosts to Asian elephants. Instead, both the virus and the disease are evidently widespread in Asia and, despite the disease severity, Asian elephants appear to be the ancient endogenous hosts of both EEHV1A and EEHV1B.

  13. Illuminating Cancer Resistance in Elephants.

    PubMed

    2015-12-01

    A new study shows that elephants have at least 20 copies of the tumor suppressor gene TP53; their cells also favor apoptosis over DNA repair when subjected to DNA-damaging agents. These findings may help explain elephants' longevity and low cancer risk, and shed further light on natural cancer suppression mechanisms.

  14. Assessing the General Education Elephant

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Eubanks, David A.

    2008-01-01

    Determining the success of a general education program can resemble the task of John Godfrey's six blind men in trying to acquaint themselves with an elephant. One man's approach is to feel the tusk and conclude that the elephant is a spear. Another approach leads to thinking that the broad side of the animal is a wall. The many ways of asking and…

  15. Africanization of a feral honey bee (Apis mellifera) population in South Texas: does a decade make a difference?

    PubMed

    Rangel, Juliana; Giresi, Melissa; Pinto, Maria Alice; Baum, Kristen A; Rubink, William L; Coulson, Robert N; Johnston, John Spencer

    2016-04-01

    The arrival to the United States of the Africanized honey bee, a hybrid between European subspecies and the African subspecies Apis mellifera scutellata, is a remarkable model for the study of biological invasions. This immigration has created an opportunity to study the dynamics of secondary contact of honey bee subspecies from African and European lineages in a feral population in South Texas. An 11-year survey of this population (1991-2001) showed that mitochondrial haplotype frequencies changed drastically over time from a resident population of eastern and western European maternal ancestry, to a population dominated by the African haplotype. A subsequent study of the nuclear genome showed that the Africanization process included bidirectional gene flow between European and Africanized honey bees, giving rise to a new panmictic mixture of A. m. scutellata- and European-derived genes. In this study, we examined gene flow patterns in the same population 23 years after the first hybridization event occurred. We found 28 active colonies inhabiting 92 tree cavities surveyed in a 5.14 km(2) area, resulting in a colony density of 5.4 colonies/km(2). Of these 28 colonies, 25 were of A. m. scutellata maternal ancestry, and three were of western European maternal ancestry. No colonies of eastern European maternal ancestry were detected, although they were present in the earlier samples. Nuclear DNA revealed little change in the introgression of A. m. scutellata-derived genes into the population compared to previous surveys. Our results suggest this feral population remains an admixed swarm with continued low levels of European ancestry and a greater presence of African-derived mitochondrial genetic composition.

  16. Glossina fuscipes populations provide insights for Human African Trypanosomiasis transmission in Uganda

    PubMed Central

    Aksoy, Serap; Caccone, Adalgisa; Galvani, Alison P.; Okedi, Loyce M.

    2013-01-01

    Uganda has both forms of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT): the chronic gambiense disease in the northwest and the acute rhodesiense disease in the south. The recent spread of rhodesiense into central Uganda has raised concerns given the different control strategies the two diseases require. We present knowledge on the population genetics of the major vector species Glossina fuscipes fuscipes in Uganda with a focus on population structure, measures of gene flow between populations, and the occurrence of polyandry. The microbiome composition and diversity is discussed, focusing on their potential role on trypanosome infection outcomes. We discuss the implications of these findings for large-scale tsetse control programs, including suppression or eradication, being undertaken in Uganda and potential future genetic applications. PMID:23845311

  17. Glossina fuscipes populations provide insights for human African trypanosomiasis transmission in Uganda.

    PubMed

    Aksoy, Serap; Caccone, Adalgisa; Galvani, Alison P; Okedi, Loyce M

    2013-08-01

    Uganda has both forms of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT): the chronic gambiense disease in the northwest and the acute rhodesiense disease in the south. The recent spread of rhodesiense into central Uganda has raised concerns given the different control strategies the two diseases require. We present knowledge on the population genetics of the major vector species Glossina fuscipes fuscipes in Uganda with a focus on population structure, measures of gene flow between populations, and the occurrence of polyandry. The microbiome composition and diversity is discussed, focusing on their potential role on trypanosome infection outcomes. We discuss the implications of these findings for large-scale tsetse control programs, including suppression or eradication, being undertaken in Uganda, and potential future genetic applications.

  18. Elephants in the understory: opposing direct and indirect effects of consumption and ecosystem engineering by megaherbivores.

    PubMed

    Coverdale, Tyler C; Kartzinel, Tyler R; Grabowski, Kathryn L; Shriver, Robert K; Hassan, Abdikadir A; Goheen, Jacob R; Palmer, Todd M; Pringle, Robert M

    2016-11-01

    Positive indirect effects of consumers on their resources can stabilize food webs by preventing overexploitation, but the coupling of trophic and non-trophic interactions remains poorly integrated into our understanding of community dynamics. Elephants engineer African savanna ecosystems by toppling trees and breaking branches, and although their negative effects on trees are well documented, their effects on small-statured plants remain poorly understood. Using data on 117 understory plant taxa collected over 7 yr within 36 1-ha experimental plots in a semi-arid Kenyan savanna, we measured the strength and direction of elephant impacts on understory vegetation. We found that elephants had neutral effects on most (83-89%) species, with a similar frequency of positive and negative responses among the remainder. Overall, estimated understory biomass was 5-14% greater in the presence of elephants across a range of rainfall levels. Whereas direct consumption likely accounts for the negative effects, positive effects are presumably indirect. We hypothesized that elephants create associational refuges for understory plants by damaging tree canopies in ways that physically inhibit feeding by other large herbivores. As predicted, understory biomass and species richness beneath elephant-damaged trees were 55% and 21% greater, respectively, than under undamaged trees. Experimentally simulated elephant damage increased understory biomass by 37% and species richness by 49% after 1 yr. Conversely, experimentally removing elephant damaged branches decreased understory biomass by 39% and richness by 30% relative to sham-manipulated trees. Camera-trap surveys revealed that elephant damage reduced the frequency of herbivory by 71%, whereas we detected no significant effect of damage on temperature, light, or soil moisture. We conclude that elephants locally facilitate understory plants by creating refuges from herbivory, which countervails the direct negative effects of

  19. Pharmacogenomics Implications of Using Herbal Medicinal Plants on African Populations in Health Transition

    PubMed Central

    Thomford, Nicholas E.; Dzobo, Kevin; Chopera, Denis; Wonkam, Ambroise; Skelton, Michelle; Blackhurst, Dee; Chirikure, Shadreck; Dandara, Collet

    2015-01-01

    The most accessible points of call for most African populations with respect to primary health care are traditional health systems that include spiritual, religious, and herbal medicine. This review focusses only on the use of herbal medicines. Most African people accept herbal medicines as generally safe with no serious adverse effects. However, the overlap between conventional medicine and herbal medicine is a reality among countries in health systems transition. Patients often simultaneously seek treatment from both conventional and traditional health systems for the same condition. Commonly encountered conditions/diseases include malaria, HIV/AIDS, hypertension, tuberculosis, and bleeding disorders. It is therefore imperative to understand the modes of interaction between different drugs from conventional and traditional health care systems when used in treatment combinations. Both conventional and traditional drug entities are metabolized by the same enzyme systems in the human body, resulting in both pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics interactions, whose properties remain unknown/unquantified. Thus, it is important that profiles of interaction between different herbal and conventional medicines be evaluated. This review evaluates herbal and conventional drugs in a few African countries and their potential interaction at the pharmacogenomics level. PMID:26402689

  20. Additive genetic variation in schizophrenia risk is shared by populations of African and European descent.

    PubMed

    de Candia, Teresa R; Lee, S Hong; Yang, Jian; Browning, Brian L; Gejman, Pablo V; Levinson, Douglas F; Mowry, Bryan J; Hewitt, John K; Goddard, Michael E; O'Donovan, Michael C; Purcell, Shaun M; Posthuma, Danielle; Visscher, Peter M; Wray, Naomi R; Keller, Matthew C

    2013-09-05

    To investigate the extent to which the proportion of schizophrenia's additive genetic variation tagged by SNPs is shared by populations of European and African descent, we analyzed the largest combined African descent (AD [n = 2,142]) and European descent (ED [n = 4,990]) schizophrenia case-control genome-wide association study (GWAS) data set available, the Molecular Genetics of Schizophrenia (MGS) data set. We show how a method that uses genomic similarities at measured SNPs to estimate the additive genetic correlation (SNP correlation [SNP-rg]) between traits can be extended to estimate SNP-rg for the same trait between ethnicities. We estimated SNP-rg for schizophrenia between the MGS ED and MGS AD samples to be 0.66 (SE = 0.23), which is significantly different from 0 (p(SNP-rg = 0) = 0.0003), but not 1 (p(SNP-rg = 1) = 0.26). We re-estimated SNP-rg between an independent ED data set (n = 6,665) and the MGS AD sample to be 0.61 (SE = 0.21, p(SNP-rg = 0) = 0.0003, p(SNP-rg = 1) = 0.16). These results suggest that many schizophrenia risk alleles are shared across ethnic groups and predate African-European divergence.

  1. THE IMPACT OF HISPANIC POPULATION GROWTH ON THE OUTLOOK OF AFRICAN AMERICANS

    PubMed Central

    Taylor, Marylee C.; Schroeder, Matthew B.

    2014-01-01

    We know too little about the effects of immigration on black Americans. If prior research yields mixed evidence about immigration’s consequences for the objective well-being of African Americans, it is silent about effects of immigration on blacks’ subjective well-being. To fill that void, this paper assesses the impact of the expanding Hispanic population on black Americans from a social psychological perspective. We ask whether blacks’ self-reported distress, social distrust, or attitudes toward Hispanics and immigrants are affected by the size of the local Hispanic population or by the percentage growth in local Hispanic residents. Answers come from responses of non-Hispanic black participants in the 1998–2002 General Social Surveys, linked to 1990 and 2000 census data. Contrary to pessimistic claims, most social psychological outcomes, including measures of economic distress, manifest no impact of local Hispanic numbers. The four exceptions, significant effects of local Hispanic population share or percentage growth evenly split in valence, underscore the complexity of recent immigration’s effects on African Americans. PMID:25242830

  2. Genetic Relatedness of African and United States Populations of Cercospora zeae-maydis.

    PubMed

    Dunkle, L D; Levy, M

    2000-05-01

    Two taxonomically identical but genetically distinct sibling species, designated groups I and II, of Cercospora zeae-maydis cause gray leaf spot of maize in the United States. Isolates of the gray leaf spot pathogen from Africa were compared with isolates from the United States by amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis and restriction digests of internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions and 5.8S ribosomal DNA (rDNA), as well as by morphological and cultural characteristics. The isolates from Africa were morphologically indistinguishable from the U.S. isolates in both groups, but like isolates of group II, they grew more slowly and failed to produce detectable amounts of cercosporin in culture. Analysis of restriction fragments from the ITS and rDNA regions digested with five endonucleases indicated that all of the African isolates shared the profile of the C. zeae-maydis group II population from the eastern United States and, thus, are distinct from the group I population, which is more prevalent in the United States and other parts of the world. Cluster analysis of 85 AFLP loci confirmed that the African and U.S. group II populations were conspecific (greater than 97% average similarity) with limited variability. Among all group II isolates, only 8 of 57 AFLP loci were polymorphic, and none was specific to either population. Thus, although gray leaf spot was reported in the United States several decades prior to the first record in Africa, the relative age of the two populations on their respective continents could not be ascertained with confidence. The absence of C. zeae-maydis group I in our samples from four countries in the major maize-producing region of Africa as well as the greater AFLP haplotype diversity found in the African group II population, however, suggest that Africa was the source of C. zeae-maydis group II in the United States. The overall paucity of AFLP variation in this sibling species further suggests that its origin is

  3. Development and validation of quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction assays to detect elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses-2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

    PubMed

    Stanton, Jeffrey J; Nofs, Sally A; Peng, Rongsheng; Hayward, Gary S; Ling, Paul D

    2012-12-01

    Elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHVs) can cause lethal hemorrhagic disease in both African and Asian elephants. At least seven EEHV types have been described, and sensitive real-time PCR tests have been developed for EEHV1A and 1B, which are associated with the majority of characterized Asian elephant deaths. Despite growing knowledge of the different EEHV types, the prevalence of each type within African and Asian elephants remains to be determined and there is considerable need for diagnostic tests to detect and discriminate between each EEHV species for clinical management of African and Asian elephants that develop illness from one or more of these viruses. To begin to address these issues, we developed real-time PCR assays for EEHV2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Overall, each assay had robust PCR efficiency, a dynamic linear range over 5log(10) concentrations, a limit of detection of 10 copies/test reaction with 100% sensitivity, and low intra- and inter-assay variability. Each assay proved to be specific for the EEHV targets for which it was designed, with the exception of EEHV3 and EEHV4, which was expected because of greater DNA sequence similarity between these two EEHV species than the others. These new tools will be useful for conducting surveys of EEHV prevalence within captive and range country elephants, for diagnostic testing of elephants with suspected EEHV-associated disease, and for managing the treatment of elephants with EEHV-induced illness.

  4. Protection from Cardiovascular Disease Due to Increased High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol in African Black Populations: Myth or Reality?

    PubMed

    Woudberg, Nicholas J; Goedecke, Julia H; Lecour, Sandrine

    2016-10-20

    The burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in sub-Saharan Africa has increased over the last decade. Despite this, African Black populations present with relatively low incidences of coronary heart disease and ischemic heart disease, which may be attributed to their lower total cholesterol, triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations, compared with White populations. Commensurate with these lower lipid levels, it was believed that high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) concentrations would be higher in Black populations compared with their White counterparts. This is based on data from previous studies of African and African American populations; however, recent studies conducted in Africa found similar or lower HDL-C concentrations in Black compared with White individuals. Current research, therefore, suggests that HDL-C may not be a good indicator of cardiovascular risk and future research should focus on HDL quality (vs quantity), by measuring HDL functionality and subclass.

  5. Patterns and Determinants of Habitat Occupancy by the Asian Elephant in the Western Ghats of Karnataka, India

    PubMed Central

    Jathanna, Devcharan; Karanth, K. Ullas; Kumar, N. Samba; Karanth, Krithi K.; Goswami, Varun R.

    2015-01-01

    Understanding species distribution patterns has direct ramifications for the conservation of endangered species, such as the Asian elephant Elephas maximus. However, reliable assessment of elephant distribution is handicapped by factors such as the large spatial scales of field studies, survey expertise required, the paucity of analytical approaches that explicitly account for confounding observation processes such as imperfect and variable detectability, unequal sampling probability and spatial dependence among animal detections. We addressed these problems by carrying out ‘detection—non-detection’ surveys of elephant signs across a c. 38,000-km2 landscape in the Western Ghats of Karnataka, India. We analyzed the resulting sign encounter data using a recently developed modeling approach that explicitly addresses variable detectability across space and spatially dependent non-closure of occupancy, across sampling replicates. We estimated overall occupancy, a parameter useful to monitoring elephant populations, and examined key ecological and anthropogenic drivers of elephant presence. Our results showed elephants occupied 13,483 km2 (SE = 847 km2) corresponding to 64% of the available 21,167 km2 of elephant habitat in the study landscape, a useful baseline to monitor future changes. Replicate-level detection probability ranged between 0.56 and 0.88, and ignoring it would have underestimated elephant distribution by 2116 km2 or 16%. We found that anthropogenic factors predominated over natural habitat attributes in determining elephant occupancy, underscoring the conservation need to regulate them. Human disturbances affected elephant habitat occupancy as well as site-level detectability. Rainfall is not an important limiting factor in this relatively humid bioclimate. Finally, we discuss cost-effective monitoring of Asian elephant populations and the specific spatial scales at which different population parameters can be estimated. We emphasize the need to

  6. Patterns and Determinants of Habitat Occupancy by the Asian Elephant in the Western Ghats of Karnataka, India.

    PubMed

    Jathanna, Devcharan; Karanth, K Ullas; Kumar, N Samba; Karanth, Krithi K; Goswami, Varun R

    2015-01-01

    Understanding species distribution patterns has direct ramifications for the conservation of endangered species, such as the Asian elephant Elephas maximus. However, reliable assessment of elephant distribution is handicapped by factors such as the large spatial scales of field studies, survey expertise required, the paucity of analytical approaches that explicitly account for confounding observation processes such as imperfect and variable detectability, unequal sampling probability and spatial dependence among animal detections. We addressed these problems by carrying out 'detection--non-detection' surveys of elephant signs across a c. 38,000-km(2) landscape in the Western Ghats of Karnataka, India. We analyzed the resulting sign encounter data using a recently developed modeling approach that explicitly addresses variable detectability across space and spatially dependent non-closure of occupancy, across sampling replicates. We estimated overall occupancy, a parameter useful to monitoring elephant populations, and examined key ecological and anthropogenic drivers of elephant presence. Our results showed elephants occupied 13,483 km(2) (SE = 847 km(2)) corresponding to 64% of the available 21,167 km(2) of elephant habitat in the study landscape, a useful baseline to monitor future changes. Replicate-level detection probability ranged between 0.56 and 0.88, and ignoring it would have underestimated elephant distribution by 2116 km(2) or 16%. We found that anthropogenic factors predominated over natural habitat attributes in determining elephant occupancy, underscoring the conservation need to regulate them. Human disturbances affected elephant habitat occupancy as well as site-level detectability. Rainfall is not an important limiting factor in this relatively humid bioclimate. Finally, we discuss cost-effective monitoring of Asian elephant populations and the specific spatial scales at which different population parameters can be estimated. We emphasize the need

  7. Gene-centric analysis of serum cotinine levels in African and European American populations.

    PubMed

    Hamidovic, Ajna; Goodloe, Robert J; Bergen, Andrew W; Benowitz, Neal L; Styn, Mindi A; Kasberger, Jay L; Choquet, Helene; Young, Taylor R; Meng, Yan; Palmer, Cameron; Pletcher, Mark; Kertesz, Stefan; Hitsman, Brian; Spring, Bonnie; Jorgenson, Eric

    2012-03-01

    To date, most genetic association studies of tobacco use have been conducted in European American subjects using the phenotype of smoking quantity (cigarettes per day). However, smoking quantity is a very imprecise measure of exposure to tobacco smoke constituents. Analyses of alternate phenotypes and populations may improve our understanding of tobacco addiction genetics. Cotinine is the major metabolite of nicotine, and measuring serum cotinine levels in smokers provides a more objective measure of nicotine dose than smoking quantity. Previous genetic association studies of serum cotinine have focused on individual genes. We conducted a genetic association study of the biomarker in African American (N=365) and European American (N=315) subjects from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study using a chip containing densely-spaced tag SNPs in ∼2100 genes. We found that rs11187065, located in the non-coding region (intron 1) of insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE), was the most strongly associated SNP (p=8.91 × 10(-6)) in the African American cohort, whereas rs11763963, located on chromosome 7 outside of a gene transcript, was the most strongly associated SNP in European Americans (p=1.53 × 10(-6)). We then evaluated how the top variant association in each population performed in the other group. We found that the association of rs11187065 in IDE was also associated with the phenotype in European Americans (p=0.044). Our top SNP association in European Americans, rs11763963 was non-polymorphic in our African American sample. It has been previously shown that psychostimulant self-administration is reduced in animals with lower insulin because of interference with dopamine transmission in the brain reward centers. Our finding provides a platform for further investigation of this, or additional mechanisms, involving the relationship between insulin and self-administered nicotine dose.

  8. Bayesian estimation of the phylogeography of African gorillas with genome-differentiated population trees.

    PubMed

    Kim, Joungyoun; Larget, Bret

    2014-09-01

    Phylogeography investigates the historical process that is responsible for the contemporary geographic distributions of populations in a species. The inference is made on the basis of molecular sequence data sampled from modern-day populations. The estimates, however, may fluctuate depending on the relevant genomic regions, because the evolution mechanism of each genome is unique, even within the same individual. In this article, we propose a genome-differentiated population tree model that allows the existence of separate population trees for each homologous genome. In each population tree, the unique evolutionary characteristics account for each genome, along with their homologous relationship; therefore, the approach can distinguish the evolutionary history of one genome from that of another. In addition to the separate divergence times, the new model can estimate separate effective population sizes, gene-genealogies and other mutation parameters. For Bayesian inference, we developed a Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methodology with a novel MCMC algorithm which can mix over a complicated state space. The stability of the new estimator is demonstrated through comparison with the Monte Carlo samples and other methods, as well as MCMC convergence diagnostics. The analysis of African gorilla data from two homologous loci reveals discordant divergence times between loci, and this discrepancy is explained by male-mediated gene flows until the end of the last ice age.

  9. Modeling the effects of trophy selection and environmental disturbance on a simulated population of African lions.

    PubMed

    Whitman, Karyl L; Starfield, Anthony M; Quadling, Henley; Packer, Craig

    2007-06-01

    Tanzania is a premier destination for trophy hunting of African lions (Panthera leo) and is home to the most extensive long-term study of unhunted lions. Thus, it provides a unique opportunity to apply data from a long-term field study to a conservation dilemma: How can a trophy-hunted species whose reproductive success is closely tied to social stability be harvested sustainably? We used an individually based, spatially explicit, stochastic model, parameterized with nearly 40 years of behavioral and demographic data on lions in the Serengeti, to examine the separate effects of trophy selection and environmental disturbance on the viability of a simulated lion population in response to annual harvesting. Female population size was sensitive to the harvesting of young males (> or = 3 years), whereas hunting represented a relatively trivial threat to population viability when the harvest was restricted to mature males (> or = 6 years). Overall model performance was robust to environmental disturbance and to errors in age assessment based on nose coloration as an index used to age potential trophies. Introducing an environmental disturbance did not eliminate the capacity to maintain a viable breeding population when harvesting only older males, and initially depleted populations recovered within 15-25 years after the disturbance to levels comparable to hunted populations that did not experience a catastrophic event. These results are consistent with empirical observations of lion resilience to environmental stochasticity.

  10. First reported case of elephant endotheliotropic herpes virus infection in Laos.

    PubMed

    Bouchard, Bertrand; Xaymountry, Bounmy; Thongtip, Nikorn; Lertwatcharasarakul, Preeda; Wajjwalku, Worawidh

    2014-09-01

    The elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) is now recognized as one of the main causes of death of young Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in North American zoos. Its impact in wild and domestic elephant populations in Asia is not clearly understood. This article describes the first case of EEHV infection in Lao People's Democratic Republic of a 2.5-yr-old domestic male Asian elephant. Clinical signs and pathological findings reported here are consistent with previous infections in Asian elephant calves. Phylogenetic analyses showed 100% homology with other EEHV-1A strains identified in Asia, Europe, and North America. Contamination of the molecular assays was ruled out, because the DNA polymerase sequence identified in this study differed from the positive control by two base pairs.

  11. Major histocompatibility complex variation and evolution at a single, expressed DQA locus in two genera of elephants.

    PubMed

    Archie, Elizabeth A; Henry, Tammy; Maldonado, Jesus E; Moss, Cynthia J; Poole, Joyce H; Pearson, Virginia R; Murray, Suzan; Alberts, Susan C; Fleischer, Robert C

    2010-02-01

    Genes of the vertebrate major histocompatibility complex (MHC) are crucial to defense against infectious disease, provide an important measure of functional genetic diversity, and have been implicated in mate choice and kin recognition. As a result, MHC loci have been characterized for a number of vertebrate species, especially mammals;however, elephants are a notable exception. Our study is the first to characterize patterns of genetic diversity and natural selection in the elephant MHC. We did so using DNA sequences from a single, expressed DQA locus in elephants.We characterized six alleles in 30 African elephants(Loxodonta africana) and four alleles in three Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). In addition, for two of the African alleles and three of the Asian alleles, we characterized complete coding sequences (exons 1-5) and nearly complete non-coding sequences (introns 2-4) for the class II DQA loci. Compared to DQA in other wild mammals, we found moderate polymorphism and allelic diversity and similar patterns of selection; patterns of non-synonymous and synonymous substitutions were consistent with balancing selection acting on the peptides involved in antigen binding in the second exon. In addition, balancing selection has led to strong trans-species allelism that has maintained multiple allelic lineages across both genera of extant elephants for at least 6 million years. We discuss our results in the context of MHC diversity in other mammals and patterns of evolution in elephants.

  12. Male reproductive parasitism: a factor in the africanization of European honey-bee populations.

    PubMed

    Rinderer, T E; Hellmich, R L; Danka, R G; Collins, A M

    1985-05-31

    Africanized drone honey bees (Apis mellifera) migrate into European honey-bee colonies in large numbers, but Africanized colonies only rarely host drones from other colonies. This migration leads to a strong mating advantage for Africanized bees since it both inhibits European drone production and enhances Africanized drone production.

  13. Corridor use by Asian elephants.

    PubMed

    Pan, Wenjing; Lin, Liu; Luo, Aidong; Zhang, Li

    2009-06-01

    There are 18 km of Kunming-Bangkok Highway passing through the Mengyang Nature Reserve of Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve in Yunnan Province, China. From September 2005 to September 2006 the impact of this highway on movement of wild Asian elephants between the eastern and western part of the nature reserve was studied using track transecting, rural surveys and direct monitoring. Our results showed that the number of crossroad corridors used by Asian elephants diminished from 28 to 23 following the construction of the highway. In some areas, the elephant activity diminished or even disappeared, which indicated a change in their home ranges. The utilization rate of artificial corridors was 44%. We also found that elephants preferred artificial corridors that were placed along their original corridors. During the research, wild elephants revealed their adaptation to the highway. They were found walking across the highway road surface many times and for different reasons. We suggest that the highway management bureau should revise their management strategies to mitigate the potential risks caused by elephants on the road for the safety of the public and to protect this endangered species from harm. It is also very important to protect and maintain current Asian elephants corridors in this region.

  14. Potential Mechanisms for Cancer Resistance in Elephants and Comparative Cellular Response to DNA Damage in Humans

    PubMed Central

    Abegglen, Lisa M.; Caulin, Aleah F.; Chan, Ashley; Lee, Kristy; Robinson, Rosann; Campbell, Michael S.; Kiso, Wendy K.; Schmitt, Dennis L.; Waddell, Peter J; Bhaskara, Srividya; Jensen, Shane T.; Maley, Carlo C.; Schiffman, Joshua D.

    2016-01-01

    IMPORTANCE Evolutionary medicine may provide insights into human physiology and pathophysiology, including tumor biology. OBJECTIVE To identify mechanisms for cancer resistance in elephants and compare cellular response to DNA damage among elephants, healthy human controls, and cancer-prone patients with Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS). DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS A comprehensive survey of necropsy data was performed across 36 mammalian species to validate cancer resistance in large and long-lived organisms, including elephants (n = 644). The African and Asian elephant genomes were analyzed for potential mechanisms of cancer resistance. Peripheral blood lymphocytes from elephants, healthy human controls, and patients with LFS were tested in vitro in the laboratory for DNA damage response. The study included African and Asian elephants (n = 8), patients with LFS (n = 10), and age-matched human controls (n = 11). Human samples were collected at the University of Utah between June 2014 and July 2015. EXPOSURES Ionizing radiation and doxorubicin. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Cancer mortality across species was calculated and compared by body size and life span. The elephant genome was investigated for alterations in cancer-related genes. DNA repair and apoptosis were compared in elephant vs human peripheral blood lymphocytes. RESULTS Across mammals, cancer mortality did not increase with body size and/or maximum life span (eg, for rock hyrax, 1% [95%CI, 0%–5%]; African wild dog, 8%[95%CI, 0%–16%]; lion, 2%[95%CI, 0% –7%]). Despite their large body size and long life span, elephants remain cancer resistant, with an estimated cancer mortality of 4.81% (95%CI, 3.14%–6.49%), compared with humans, who have 11% to 25%cancer mortality. While humans have 1 copy (2 alleles) of TP53, African elephants have at least 20 copies (40 alleles), including 19 retrogenes (38 alleles) with evidence of transcriptional activity measured by reverse transcription polymerase chain

  15. Potential mechanisms for cancer resistance in elephants and comparative cellular response to DNA damage in humans

    DOE PAGES

    Abegglen, Lisa M.; Caulin, Aleah F.; Chan, Ashley; ...

    2015-10-08

    Here, evolutionary medicine may provide insights into human physiology and pathophysiology, including tumor biology. To identify mechanisms for cancer resistance in elephants and compare cellular response to DNA damage among elephants, healthy human controls, and cancer-prone patients with Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS). Design, Setting, and Participants A comprehensive survey of necropsy data was performed across 36 mammalian species to validate cancer resistance in large and long-lived organisms, including elephants (n=644). The African and Asian elephant genomes were analyzed for potential mechanisms of cancer resistance. Peripheral blood lymphocytes from elephants, healthy human controls, and patients with LFS were tested in vitro inmore » the laboratory for DNA damage response. The study included African and Asian elephants (n=8), patients with LFS (n=10), and age-matched human controls (n=11). Human samples were collected at the University of Utah between June 2014 and July 2015. Exposures Ionizing radiation and doxorubicin. Cancer mortality across species was calculated and compared by body size and life span. The elephant genome was investigated for alterations in cancer-related genes. DNA repair and apoptosis were compared in elephant vs human peripheral blood lymphocytes. Across mammals, cancer mortality did not increase with body size and/or maximum life span (eg, for rock hyrax, 1% [95% CI, 0%-5%]; African wild dog, 8% [95% CI, 0%-16%]; lion, 2% [95% CI, 0%-7%]). Despite their large body size and long life span, elephants remain cancer resistant, with an estimated cancer mortality of 4.81% (95% CI, 3.14%-6.49%), compared with humans, who have 11% to 25% cancer mortality. While humans have 1 copy (2 alleles) of TP53, African elephants have at least 20 copies (40 alleles), including 19 retrogenes (38 alleles) with evidence of transcriptional activity measured by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. In response to DNA damage, elephant lymphocytes

  16. Potential mechanisms for cancer resistance in elephants and comparative cellular response to DNA damage in humans

    SciTech Connect

    Abegglen, Lisa M.; Caulin, Aleah F.; Chan, Ashley; Lee, Kristy; Robinson, Rosann; Campbell, Michael S.; Kiso, Wendy K.; Schmitt, Dennis L.; Waddell, Peter J.; Bhaskara, Srividya; Jensen, Shane T.; Maley, Carlo C.; Schiffman, Joshua D.

    2015-10-08

    Here, evolutionary medicine may provide insights into human physiology and pathophysiology, including tumor biology. To identify mechanisms for cancer resistance in elephants and compare cellular response to DNA damage among elephants, healthy human controls, and cancer-prone patients with Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS). Design, Setting, and Participants A comprehensive survey of necropsy data was performed across 36 mammalian species to validate cancer resistance in large and long-lived organisms, including elephants (n=644). The African and Asian elephant genomes were analyzed for potential mechanisms of cancer resistance. Peripheral blood lymphocytes from elephants, healthy human controls, and patients with LFS were tested in vitro in the laboratory for DNA damage response. The study included African and Asian elephants (n=8), patients with LFS (n=10), and age-matched human controls (n=11). Human samples were collected at the University of Utah between June 2014 and July 2015. Exposures Ionizing radiation and doxorubicin. Cancer mortality across species was calculated and compared by body size and life span. The elephant genome was investigated for alterations in cancer-related genes. DNA repair and apoptosis were compared in elephant vs human peripheral blood lymphocytes. Across mammals, cancer mortality did not increase with body size and/or maximum life span (eg, for rock hyrax, 1% [95% CI, 0%-5%]; African wild dog, 8% [95% CI, 0%-16%]; lion, 2% [95% CI, 0%-7%]). Despite their large body size and long life span, elephants remain cancer resistant, with an estimated cancer mortality of 4.81% (95% CI, 3.14%-6.49%), compared with humans, who have 11% to 25% cancer mortality. While humans have 1 copy (2 alleles) of TP53, African elephants have at least 20 copies (40 alleles), including 19 retrogenes (38 alleles) with evidence of transcriptional activity measured by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. In response to DNA damage, elephant lymphocytes

  17. Bight of Benin: a Maternal Perspective of Four Beninese Populations and their Genetic Implications on the American Populations of African Ancestry.

    PubMed

    Primativo, Giuseppina; Ottoni, Claudio; Biondi, Gianfranco; Serafino, Sara; Martínez-Labarga, Cristina; Larmuseau, Maarten H D; Scardi, Michele; Decorte, Ronny; Rickards, Olga

    2017-03-01

    The understanding of the first movements of the ancestral populations within the African continent is still unclear, particularly in West Africa, due to several factors that have shaped the African genetic pool across time. To improve the genetic representativeness of the Beninese population and to better understand the patterns of human settlement inside West Africa and the dynamics of peopling of the Democratic Republic of Benin, we analyzed the maternal genetic variation of 193 Beninese individuals belonging to Bariba, Berba, Dendi, and Fon populations. Results support the oral traditions indicating that the western neighbouring populations have been the ancestors of the first Beninese populations, and the extant genetic structure of the Beninese populations is most likely the result of admixture between populations from neighbouring countries and native people. The present findings highlight how the Beninese populations contributed to the gene pool of the extant populations of some American populations of African ancestry. This strengthens the hypothesis that the Bight of Benin was not only an assembly point for the slave trade during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade but also an important slave trapping area.

  18. Suppression of Pratylenchus penetrans Populations in Potato and Tomato using African Marigolds

    PubMed Central

    Alexander, Samuel A.; Waldenmaier, Christine M.

    2002-01-01

    Current strategies for management of Pratylenchus penetrans in both white potato and tomato consist of the use of fumigant or non-fumigant nematicides or crop rotation. The objective of this study was to determine if double-cropping African marigolds (Tagetes erecta) with potatoes or tomatoes could reduce P. penetrans populations. Plots were 10 m × 3 m arranged in a randomized complete block design with four replications. Treatments included marigolds, potatoes or tomatoes, and natural weedy fallow followed by either potatoes or tomatoes. Nematode populations were sampled before spring planting, between crops in August and after harvest in November. During the 3 years of the study, P. penetrans soil population density declined by an average of 93% from the pre-plant level when marigold was grown in rotation with potato and by 98% when marigold was grown.in rotation with tomato. Weedy fallow preceding potato resulted in an average decline in P. penetrans soil population density of 38%, and a similar decrease (37%) was seen when fallow preceded tomato. There was a significant reduction in the number of P. penetrans found in both potato and tomato roots when the crops followed marigolds. These results suggest that P. penetrans population density may be significantly reduced when marigolds are double-cropped with potatoes or tomatoes. PMID:19265920

  19. Novel variants of major drug-metabolising enzyme genes in diverse African populations and their predicted functional effects

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Pharmacogenetics enables personalised therapy based on genetic profiling and is increasingly applied in drug discovery. Medicines are developed and used together with pharmacodiagnostic tools to achieve desired drug efficacy and safety margins. Genetic polymorphism of drug-metabolising enzymes such as cytochrome P450s (CYPs) and N-acetyltransferases (NATs) has been widely studied in Caucasian and Asian populations, yet studies on African variants have been less extensive. The aim of the present study was to search for novel variants of CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2D6 and NAT2 genes in Africans, with a particular focus on their prevalence in different populations, their relevance to enzyme functionality and their potential for personalised therapy. Blood samples from various ethnic groups were obtained from the AiBST Biobank of African Populations. The nine exons and exon-intron junctions of the CYP genes and exon 2 of NAT2 were analysed by direct DNA sequencing. Computational tools were used for the identification, haplotype analysis and prediction of functional effects of novel single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Novel SNPs were discovered in all four genes, grouped to existing haplotypes or assigned new allele names, if possible. The functional effects of non-synonymous SNPs were predicted and known African-specific variants were confirmed, but no significant differences were found in the frequencies of SNPs between African ethnicities. The low prevalence of our novel variants and most known functional alleles is consistent with the generally high level of diversity in gene loci of African populations. This indicates that profiles of rare variants reflecting interindividual variability might become the most relevant pharmacodiagnostic tools explaining Africans' diversity in drug response. PMID:19164093

  20. Associations between Common Variants in Iron-Related Genes with Haematological Traits in Populations of African Ancestry

    PubMed Central

    Tanaka, Toshiko; Towers, G. Wayne; Verhoef, Hans; Veenemans, Jacobien; Talsma, Elise F.; Harryvan, Jan; Boekschoten, Mark V.; Feskens, Edith J.; Melse-Boonstra, Alida

    2016-01-01

    Background Large genome-wide association (GWA) studies of European ancestry individuals have identified multiple genetic variants influencing iron status. Studies on the generalizability of these associations to African ancestry populations have been limited. These studies are important given interethnic differences in iron status and the disproportionate burden of iron deficiency among African ancestry populations. Methods We tested the associations of 20 previously identified iron status-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 628 Kenyans, 609 Tanzanians, 608 South Africans and 228 African Americans. In each study, we examined the associations present between 20 SNPs with ferritin and haemoglobin, adjusting for age, sex and CRP levels. Results In the meta analysis including all 4 African ancestry cohorts, we replicated previously reported associations with lowered haemoglobin concentrations for rs2413450 (β = -0.19, P = 0.02) and rs4820268 (β = -0.16, P = 0.04) in TMPRSS6. An association with increased ferritin concentrations was also confirmed for rs1867504 in TF (β = 1.04, P = <0.0001) in the meta analysis including the African cohorts only. Conclusions In all meta analyses, we only replicated 4 of the 20 single nucleotide polymorphisms reported to be associated with iron status in large GWA studies of European ancestry individuals. While there is now evidence for the associations of a number of genetic variants with iron status in both European and African ancestry populations, the considerable lack of concordance highlights the importance of continued ancestry-specific studies to elucidate the genetic underpinnings of iron status in ethnically diverse populations. PMID:27332551

  1. Population differentiation of the African cyprinid Barbus neumayeri across dissolved oxygen regimes

    PubMed Central

    Harniman, Robert; Merritt, Thomas J S; Chapman, Lauren J; Lesbarrères, David; Martinez, Mery L

    2013-01-01

    Population level response to hypoxia has become an issue of global significance because of increased frequency and intensity of hypoxic events worldwide, and the potential for global warming to exacerbate hypoxic stress. In this study, we sequenced two nuclear intronic regions and a single mitochondrial region across seven populations of the African cyprinid, Barbus neumayeri from two river drainages in Uganda: the Rwembaita Swamp-Njuguta River System and the Dura River. We then examined two indices of population structure, GST and Jost's D, to detect links between oxygen availability and genetic variation and to determine if population genetic structure was associated with (i) dissolved oxygen regime (hypoxia or normoxia), (ii) geographical distance, or (iii) a combination of dissolved oxygen regime and geographical distance. Our results indicate that over a large scale (between drainages), geographical distance significantly affects the genetic structure of populations. However, within a single drainage, dissolved oxygen regime plays a key role in determining the genetic structure of populations. Within the Rwembaita-Njuguta system, gene flow was high between locations of similar oxygen regimes, but low between areas characterized by divergent oxygen regimes. Interestingly, GST analyses appear to yield less realistic measures of population structure than Jost's D, suggesting that caution must be taken when interpreting and comparing the results from different studies. These results support the idea that aquatic dissolved oxygen can act as a selective force limiting gene flow among populations of aquatic species and therefore should be considered when implementing conservation plans and assessing environmental impact of human activities. PMID:23789062

  2. The Uncertain Significance of Low Vitamin D levels in African Descent Populations: A Review of the Bone and Cardiometabolic Literature

    PubMed Central

    O'Connor, Michelle Y; Thoreson, Caroline K; Ramsey, Natalie L M; Ricks, Madia; Sumner, Anne E

    2014-01-01

    Vitamin D levels in people of African descent are often described as inadequate or deficient. Whether low vitamin D levels in people of African descent lead to compromised bone or cardiometabolic health is unknown. Clarity on this issue is essential because if clinically significant vitamin D deficiency is present, vitamin D supplementation is necessary. However, if vitamin D is metabolically sufficient, vitamin D supplementation could be wasteful of scarce resources and even harmful. In this review vitamin D physiology is described with a focus on issues specific to populations of African descent such as the influence of melanin on endogenous vitamin D production and lactose intolerance on the willingness of people to ingest vitamin D fortified foods. Then data on the relationship of vitamin D to bone and cardiometabolic health in people of African descent are evaluated. PMID:24267433

  3. Population genomic analysis uncovers African and European admixture in Drosophila melanogaster populations from the south-eastern United States and Caribbean Islands.

    PubMed

    Kao, Joyce Y; Zubair, Asif; Salomon, Matthew P; Nuzhdin, Sergey V; Campo, Daniel

    2015-04-01

    Drosophila melanogaster is postulated to have colonized North America in the past several 100 years in two waves. Flies from Europe colonized the east coast United States while flies from Africa inhabited the Caribbean, which if true, make the south-east US and Caribbean Islands a secondary contact zone for African and European D. melanogaster. This scenario has been proposed based on phenotypes and limited genetic data. In our study, we have sequenced individual whole genomes of flies from populations in the south-east US and Caribbean Islands and examined these populations in conjunction with population sequences from the west coast US, Africa, and Europe. We find that west coast US populations are closely related to the European population, likely reflecting a rapid westward expansion upon first settlements into North America. We also find genomic evidence of African and European admixture in south-east US and Caribbean populations, with a clinal pattern of decreasing proportions of African ancestry with higher latitude. Our genomic analysis of D. melanogaster populations from the south-east US and Caribbean Islands provides more evidence for the Caribbean Islands as the source of previously reported novel African alleles found in other east coast US populations. We also find the border between the south-east US and the Caribbean island to be the admixture hot zone where distinctly African-like Caribbean flies become genomically more similar to European-like south-east US flies. Our findings have important implications for previous studies examining the generation of east coast US clines via selection.

  4. Colloquium paper: working toward a synthesis of archaeological, linguistic, and genetic data for inferring African population history.

    PubMed

    Scheinfeldt, Laura B; Soi, Sameer; Tishkoff, Sarah A

    2010-05-11

    Although Africa is the origin of modern humans, the pattern and distribution of genetic variation and correlations with cultural and linguistic diversity in Africa have been understudied. Recent advances in genomic technology, however, have led to genomewide studies of African samples. In this article, we discuss genetic variation in African populations contextualized with what is known about archaeological and linguistic variation. What emerges from this review is the importance of using independent lines of evidence in the interpretation of genetic and genomic data in the reconstruction of past population histories.

  5. Nasal septal and craniofacial form in European- and African-derived populations.

    PubMed

    Holton, Nathan E; Yokley, Todd R; Figueroa, Aaron

    2012-09-01

    As a component of the chondrocranium, the nasal septum influences the anteroposterior dimensions of the facial skeleton. The role of the septum as a facial growth center, however, has been studied primarily in long-snouted mammals, and its precise influence on human facial growth is not as well understood. Whereas the nasal septum may be important in the anterior growth of the human facial skeleton early in ontogeny, the high incidence of nasal septal deviation in humans suggests the septum's influence on human facial length is limited to the early phases of facial growth. Nevertheless, the nasal septum follows a growth trajectory similar to the facial skeleton and, as such, its prolonged period of growth may influence other aspects of facial development. Using computed tomography scans of living human subjects (n = 70), the goal of the present study is to assess the morphological relationship between the nasal septum and facial skeleton in European- and African-derived populations, which have been shown to exhibit early developmental differences in the nasal septal-premaxillary complex. First we assessed whether there is population variation in the size of the nasal septum in European- and African-derived samples. This included an evaluation of septal deviation and the spatial constraints that influence variation in this condition. Next, we assessed the relationship between nasal septal size and craniofacial shape using multivariate regression techniques. Our results indicate that there is significant population variation in septal size and magnitude of septal deviation, both of which are greater in the European-derived sample. While septal deviation suggests a disjunction between the nasal septum and other components of the facial skeleton, we nevertheless found a significant relationship between the size of the nasal septum and craniofacial shape, which appears to largely be a response to the need to accommodate variation in nasal septal size.

  6. Incremental impact of breast cancer SNP panel on risk classification in a screening population of white and African American women.

    PubMed

    McCarthy, Anne Marie; Armstrong, Katrina; Handorf, Elizabeth; Boghossian, Leigh; Jones, Marisa; Chen, Jinbo; Demeter, Mirar Bristol; McGuire, Erin; Conant, Emily F; Domchek, Susan M

    2013-04-01

    Breast cancer risk prediction remains imperfect, particularly among non-white populations. This study examines the impact of including single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) alleles in risk prediction for white and African American women undergoing screening mammogram. Using a prospective cohort study, standard risk information and buccal swabs were collected at the time of screening mammography. A 12 SNP panel was performed by deCODE genetics. Five-year and lifetime risks incorporating SNPs were calculated by multiplying estimated Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool (BCRAT) risk by the total genetic risk ratio. Concordance between the BCRAT and the combined model (BCRAT + SNPs) in identifying high-risk women was measured using the kappa statistic. SNP data were available for 810 women (39 % African American, 55 % white). The mean BCRAT 5-year risk was 1.71 % for whites and 1.18 % for African Americans. Mean genetic risk ratios were 1.09 in whites and 1.29 in African Americans. Among whites, three SNPs had higher frequencies, and among African Americans, seven SNPs had higher and four had lower high-risk allele frequencies than previously reported. Agreement between the BCRAT and the combined model was relatively low for identifying high-risk women (5-year κ = 0.54, lifetime κ = 0.36). Addition of SNPs had the greatest effect among African Americans, with 12.4 % identified as having high-5-year risk by BCRAT, but 33 % by the combined model. A greater proportion of African Americans were reclassified as having high-5-year risk than whites using the combined model (21 vs. 10 %). The addition of SNPs to the BCRAT reclassifies the high-risk status of some women undergoing screening mammography, particularly African Americans. Further research is needed to determine the clinical validity and utility of the SNP panel for use in breast cancer risk prediction, particularly among African Americans for whom these risk alleles have generally not been validated.

  7. Incorporating parasite data in population structure studies of South African sardine Sardinops sagax.

    PubMed

    Van Der Lingen, Carl David; Weston, Laura Frances; Ssempa, Nurudean Norman; Reed, Cecile Catharine

    2015-01-01

    A multidisciplinary approach has been applied to examine the population structure of sardine Sardinops sagax off South Africa, where this species supports significant fisheries and is also of ecological and eco-tourism importance. Observations of discontinuous sardine distribution patterns, discrete spawning grounds and significant spatial differences in a variety of phenotypic characteristics have suggested the existence of discrete western, southern and eastern sardine sub-populations or stocks. The use of parasites as biological tags to elucidate sardine population structure has recently been investigated, and strong spatial gradients around South Africa in the prevalence, mean infection intensity and mean abundance of a digenean 'tetracotyle' type metacercarial endoparasite considered to be of the genus Cardiocephaloides and found in the humours of fish eyes support and have proved particularly convincing evidence for the sardine multiple stock hypothesis. A discontinuous distribution in the occurrence of another parasite, the coccidean Eimeria sardinae found in fish testes, has provided additional but weaker evidence of discrete stocks. These results have contributed to a changed understanding of the population structure of South African sardine and have significant implications for management of the fisheries for this species.

  8. Dating Studies of Elephant Tusks Using Accelerator Mass Spectrometry

    SciTech Connect

    Sideras-Haddad, E; Brown, T A

    2002-10-03

    A new method for determining the year of birth, the year of death, and hence, the age at death, of post-bomb and recently deceased elephants has been developed. The technique is based on Accelerator Mass Spectrometry radiocarbon analyses of small-sized samples extracted from along the length of a ge-line of an elephant tusk. The measured radiocarbon concentrations in the samples from a tusk can be compared to the {sup 14}C atmospheric bomb-pulse curve to derive the growth years of the initial and final samples from the tusk. Initial data from the application of this method to two tusks will be presented. Potentially, the method may play a significant role in wildlife management practices of African national parks. Additionally, the method may contribute to the underpinnings of efforts to define new international trade regulations, which could, in effect, decrease poaching and the killing of very young animals.

  9. Internet and Mobile Technology Use Among Urban African American Parents: Survey Study of a Clinical Population

    PubMed Central

    Godoy, Leandra; Shabazz, Kanya

    2014-01-01

    Background There is considerable potential for mobile technologies to empower pediatric patients and families by improving their communication with health professionals. National surveys suggest minority parents frequently communicate via mobile technology, but it is uncertain how amenable they are to receiving health care information in this format. Although the low cost and far reach characteristics of mobile health (mHealth) technology makes it advantageous for communication with minority parents, data on acceptance are needed. Objective The objective of the study was to determine utilization of mobile and Internet technology by African American parents in an urban, underserved population, and to assess their interest in receiving health information via text messaging or other technologies (eg, social media and the Internet). Methods A survey was administered to parents of children aged 1-12 years covered by public insurance receiving care at 3 pediatric primary care centers in Washington, DC. Results The African American sample (N=302) was composed of primarily single (75.8%, 229/302) mothers. Almost half had more than a high school education (47.7%, 144/302) and incomes above US $25,000 per year (43.0%, 130/302). Most (97.0%, 293/302) reported owning a cell phone, of which 91.1% (275/302) used it to text and 78.5% (237/302) used it to access the Internet. Most had service plans with unlimited text and data, but 26.5% (80/302) experienced service interruptions in the previous year. Home Internet access was more prevalent among those with higher income (86.2%, 112/130), but it was still relatively pervasive among lower income families (66.9%, 83/124). In adjusted logistic regression models, African American mothers with income greater than US $25,000 annually were 4 times as likely to own a tablet computer than their lower income counterparts. Of the participants, 80.8% (244/302) used social networking, primarily Facebook, and 74.2% (224/302) were interested in

  10. The dynamics of social networks among female Asian elephants

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Patterns in the association of individuals can shed light on the underlying conditions and processes that shape societies. Here we characterize patterns of association in a population of wild Asian Elephants at Uda Walawe National Park in Sri Lanka. We observed 286 individually-identified adult female elephants over 20 months and examined their social dynamics at three levels of organization: pairs of individuals (dyads), small sets of direct companions (ego-networks), and the population level (complete networks). Results Corroborating previous studies of this and other Asian elephant populations, we find that the sizes of elephant groups observed in the field on any particular day are typically small and that rates of association are low. In contrast to earlier studies, our longitudinal observations reveal that individuals form larger social units that can be remarkably stable across years while associations among such units change across seasons. Association rates tend to peak in dry seasons as opposed to wet seasons, with some cyclicity at the level of dyads. In addition, we find that individuals vary substantially in their fidelity to companions. At the ego-network level, we find that despite these fluctuations, individuals associate with a pool of long-term companions. At the population level, social networks do not exhibit any clear seasonal structure or hierarchical stratification. Conclusions This detailed longitudinal study reveals different social dynamics at different levels of organization. Taken together, these results demonstrate that low association rates, seemingly small group sizes, and fission-fusion grouping behavior mask hidden stability in the extensive and fluid social affiliations in this population of Asian elephants. PMID:21794147

  11. STRATEGIES FOR EQUITABLE PHARMACOGENOMIC-GUIDED WARFARIN DOSING AMONG EUROPEAN AND AFRICAN AMERICAN INDIVIDUALS IN A CLINICAL POPULATION

    PubMed Central

    WILEY, LAURA K.; VANHOUTEN, JACOB P.; SAMUELS, DAVID C.; ALDRICH, MELINDA C.; RODEN, DAN M.; PETERSON, JOSH F.; DENNY, JOSHUA C.

    2017-01-01

    The blood thinner warfarin has a narrow therapeutic range and high inter- and intra-patient variability in therapeutic doses. Several studies have shown that pharmacogenomic variants help predict stable warfarin dosing. However, retrospective and randomized controlled trials that employ dosing algorithms incorporating pharmacogenomic variants under perform in African Americans. This study sought to determine if: 1) including additional variants associated with warfarin dose in African Americans, 2) predicting within single ancestry groups rather than a combined population, or 3) using percentage African ancestry rather than observed race, would improve warfarin dosing algorithms in African Americans. Using BioVU, the Vanderbilt University Medical Center biobank linked to electronic medical records, we compared 25 modeling strategies to existing algorithms using a cohort of 2,181 warfarin users (1,928 whites, 253 blacks). We found that approaches incorporating additional variants increased model accuracy, but not in clinically significant ways. Race stratification increased model fidelity for African Americans, but the improvement was small and not likely to be clinically significant. Use of percent African ancestry improved model fit in the context of race misclassification. PMID:27897005

  12. Comparative Genome Analysis of Four Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesviruses, EEHV3, EEHV4, EEHV5, and EEHV6, from Cases of Hemorrhagic Disease or Viremia

    PubMed Central

    Zong, Jian-Chao; Latimer, Erin M.; Long, Simon Y.; Richman, Laura K.; Heaggans, Sarah Y.

    2014-01-01

    ABSTRACT The genomes of three types of novel endotheliotropic herpesviruses (elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus 1A [EEHV1A], EEHV1B, and EEHV2) associated with lethal hemorrhagic disease in Asian elephants have been previously well characterized and assigned to a new Proboscivirus genus. Here we have generated 112 kb of DNA sequence data from segments of four more types of EEHV by direct targeted PCR from blood samples or necropsy tissue samples from six viremic elephants. Comparative phylogenetic analysis of nearly 30 protein-encoding genes of EEHV5 and EEHV6 show that they diverge uniformly by nearly 20% from their closest relatives, EEHV2 and EEHV1A, respectively, and are likely to have similar overall gene content and genome organization. In contrast, seven EEHV3 and EEHV4 genes analyzed differ from those of all other EEHVs by 37% and have a G+C content of 63% compared to just 42% for the others. Three strains of EEHV5 analyzed clustered into two partially chimeric subgroups EEHV5A and EEHV5B that diverge by 19% within three small noncontiguous segments totaling 6.2 kb. We conclude that all six EEHV types should be designated as independent species within a proposed new fourth Deltaherpesvirinae subfamily of mammalian herpesviruses. These virus types likely initially diverged close to 100 million years ago when the ancestors of modern elephants split from all other placental mammals and then evolved into two major branches with high- or low-G+C content about 35 million years ago. Later additional branching events subsequently generated three paired sister taxon lineages of which EEHV1 plus EEHV6, EEHV5 plus EEHV2, and EEHV4 plus EEHV3 may represent Asian and African elephant versions, respectively. IMPORTANCE One of the factors threatening the long-term survival of endangered Asian elephants in both wild range countries and in captive breeding populations in zoos is a highly lethal hemorrhagic herpesvirus disease that has killed at least 70 young Asian

  13. Static and moving frontiers: the genetic landscape of Southern African Bantu-speaking populations.

    PubMed

    Marks, Sarah J; Montinaro, Francesco; Levy, Hila; Brisighelli, Francesca; Ferri, Gianmarco; Bertoncini, Stefania; Batini, Chiara; Busby, George B J; Arthur, Charles; Mitchell, Peter; Stewart, Brian A; Oosthuizen, Ockie; Oosthuizen, Erica; D'Amato, Maria Eugenia; Davison, Sean; Pascali, Vincenzo; Capelli, Cristian

    2015-01-01

    A consensus on Bantu-speaking populations being genetically similar has emerged in the last few years, but the demographic scenarios associated with their dispersal are still a matter of debate. The frontier model proposed by archeologists postulates different degrees of interaction among incoming agropastoralist and resident foraging groups in the presence of "static" and "moving" frontiers. By combining mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome data collected from several southern African populations, we show that Bantu-speaking populations from regions characterized by a moving frontier developing after a long-term static frontier have larger hunter-gatherer contributions than groups from areas where a static frontier was not followed by further spatial expansion. Differences in the female and male components suggest that the process of assimilation of the long-term resident groups into agropastoralist societies was gender biased. Our results show that the diffusion of Bantu languages and culture in Southern Africa was a process more complex than previously described and suggest that the admixture dynamics between farmers and foragers played an important role in shaping the current patterns of genetic diversity.

  14. Epidemiological features of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in a large clinic-based African American population.

    PubMed

    Kazamel, Mohamed; Cutter, Gary; Claussen, Gwendolyn; Alsharabati, Mohammad; Oh, Shin J; Lu, Liang; King, Peter H

    2013-09-01

    Our objective was to identify the main clinical and epidemiological features of ALS in a large cohort of African American (AA) patients and compare them to Caucasian (CA) patients in a clinic-based population. We retrospectively identified 207 patients who were diagnosed with ALS based on the revised El Escorial criteria (60 AA and 147 CA subjects). Patients were seen in the Neuromuscular Division at the University Medical Center. We compared epidemiological and clinical features of these two groups, focusing on age of onset and diagnosis, clinical presentation and survival. Results showed that AA patients had a significantly younger age of disease onset (55 years vs. 61 years for CA, p = 0.011) and were diagnosed at an earlier age (56 years vs. 62 years, p = 0.012). In younger ALS patients (< 45 years of age), there was a significant difference in gender frequency, with females predominating in the AA population and males in the CA population (p = 0.025). In a multivariable Cox proportional hazard model, survival rates were not different between the groups. In both groups, survival significantly increased with younger age. In conclusion, AA patients presented at an earlier age, but there was no difference in survival compared to CA patients. A gender reversal occurred in younger ALS patients, with AA patients more likely to be female and CA patients more likely to be male.

  15. Conservation and monitoring of a persecuted African lion population by Maasai warriors.

    PubMed

    Dolrenry, Stephanie; Hazzah, Leela; Frank, Laurence G

    2016-06-01

    Although Africa has many threatened species and biological hot spots, there are few citizen science schemes, particularly in rural communities, and there has been limited evaluation of existing programs. We engaged traditional Maasai warriors (pastoralist men aged 15 to 35) in community-based conservation and demographic monitoring of a persecuted African lion (Panthera leo) population. Through direct engagement, we investigated whether a citizen science approach employing local warriors, who had no formal education, could produce reliable data on the demographics, predation, and movements of a species with which their communities have been in conflict for generations. Warriors were given benefits such as literacy training and skill enhancement and engaged in the monitoring of the lions. The trained warriors reported on lion sign across an area nearly 4000 km(2) . Scientists worked together with the warriors to verify their reports and gather observations on the lion population. Using the verified reports and collected observations, we examined our scientific knowledge relative to the lion population preceding and during the citizen science program. Our observations showed that data quality and quantity improved with the involvement and training of the participants. Furthermore, because they engaged in conservation and gained personal benefits, the participants came to appreciate a species that was traditionally their foe. We believe engaging other local communities in biodiversity conservation and monitoring may be an effective conservation approach in rural Africa.

  16. Do microplastic loads reflect the population demographics along the southern African coastline?

    PubMed

    Nel, Holly Astrid; Hean, Jeffrey William; Noundou, Xavier Siwe; Froneman, Pierre William

    2017-02-15

    Plastic pollution is a major anthropogenic contaminant effecting the marine environment and is often associated with high human population densities and industrial activities. The microplastic (63 to 5000μm) burden of beach sediment and surf-zone water was investigated at selected sites along the entire length of the South African coastline. It was predicted that samples collected in areas of high population density, would contain a higher microplastic burden than those along coasts that demonstrate very low population densities. With the exception of water column microplastics within Richard's Bay Harbour (413.3±77.53particles·m(-3)) and Durban Harbour (1200±133.2particles·m(-3)), there were no significant spatial differences in microplastic loads. This supports the theory that harbours act as a source of microplastics for the surrounding marine environment. Additionally, the absence of any spatial variation highlights the possible long range distribution of microplastic pollutants by large scale ocean currents.

  17. Disparities in the Population Distribution of African American and Non-Hispanic White Smokers along the Quitting Continuum

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Trinidad, Dennis R.; Xie, Bin; Fagan, Pebbles; Pulvers, Kim; Romero, Devan R.; Blanco, Lyzette; Sakuma, Kari-Lyn K.

    2015-01-01

    Purpose: To examine disparities and changes over time in the population-level distribution of smokers along a cigarette quitting continuum among African American smokers compared with non-Hispanic Whites. Methods: Secondary data analyses of the 1999, 2002, 2005, and 2008 California Tobacco Surveys (CTS). The CTS are large, random-digit-dialed,…

  18. Polymorphisms of Estrogen Metabolism-Related Genes and Prostate Cancer Risk in Two Populations of African Ancestry

    PubMed Central

    Emeville, Elise; Ferdinand, Séverine; Punga, Augustin; Lufuma, Simon; Blanchet, Pascal; Romana, Marc; Multigner, Luc

    2016-01-01

    Background Estrogens are thought to play a critical role in prostate carcinogenesis. It has been suggested that polymorphisms of genes encoding enzymes involved in estrogen metabolism are risk factors for prostate cancer. However, few studies have been performed on populations of African ancestry, which are known to have a high risk of prostate cancer. Objective We investigated whether functional polymorphisms of CYP17, CYP19, CYP1B1, COMT and UGT1A1 affected the risk of prostate cancer in two different populations of African ancestry. Methods In Guadeloupe (French West Indies), we compared 498 prostate cancer patients and 565 control subjects. In Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo), 162 prostate cancer patients were compared with 144 controls. Gene polymorphisms were determined by the SNaPshot technique or short tandem repeat PCR analysis. Logistic regression was used to estimate adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Results The AA genotype and the A allele of rs4680 (COMT) appeared to be inversely associated with the risk of prostate cancer in adjusted models for both Afro-Caribbean and native African men. For the A allele, a significant inverse association was observed among cases with low-grade Gleason scores and localized clinical stage, in both populations. Conclusions These preliminary results support the hypothesis that polymorphisms of genes encoding enzymes involved in estrogen metabolism may modulate the risk of prostate cancer in populations of African ancestry. PMID:27074016

  19. Tobago Prostate Survey: Prostate Cancer Risk in a Large Population-Based Study of Men of African Descent

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2001-06-01

    control studies suggest that sex hormone related polymorphisms and surrogate hormone measures are related to prostate cancer. This Tobago population...our hypothesis that, as observed in African American men, Afro-Caribbean men experience a high risk for prostate cancer. Results from the pilot case

  20. Adaptive divergence between lake and stream populations of an East African cichlid fish.

    PubMed

    Theis, Anya; Ronco, Fabrizia; Indermaur, Adrian; Salzburger, Walter; Egger, Bernd

    2014-11-01

    Divergent natural selection acting in different habitats may build up barriers to gene flow and initiate speciation. This speciation continuum can range from weak or no divergence to strong genetic differentiation between populations. Here, we focus on the early phases of adaptive divergence in the East African cichlid fish Astatotilapia burtoni, which occurs in both Lake Tanganyika (LT) and inflowing rivers. We first assessed the population structure and morphological differences in A. burtoni from southern LT. We then focused on four lake-stream systems and quantified body shape, ecologically relevant traits (gill raker and lower pharyngeal jaw) as well as stomach contents. Our study revealed the presence of several divergent lake-stream populations that rest at different stages of the speciation continuum, but show the same morphological and ecological trajectories along the lake-stream gradient. Lake fish have higher bodies, a more superior mouth position, longer gill rakers and more slender pharyngeal jaws, and they show a plant/algae and zooplankton-biased diet, whereas stream fish feed more on snails, insects and plant seeds. A test for reproductive isolation between closely related lake and stream populations did not detect population-assortative mating. Analyses of F1 offspring reared under common garden conditions indicate that the detected differences in body shape and gill raker length do not constitute pure plastic responses to different environmental conditions, but also have a genetic basis. Taken together, the A. burtoni lake-stream system constitutes a new model to study the factors that enhance and constrain progress towards speciation in cichlid fishes.

  1. Effects of Methyl Eugenol Feeding on Mating Compatibility of Asian Population of Bactrocera dorsalis (Diptera: Tephritidae) with African Population and with B. carambolae.

    PubMed

    Haq, Ihsan Ul; Vreysen, Marc J B; Schutze, Mark; Hendrichs, Jorge; Shelly, Todd

    2016-02-01

    Males of some species included in the Bactrocera dorsalis complex are strongly attracted to methyl eugenol (ME) (1,2-dimethoxy-4-(2-propenyl) benzene), a natural compound occurring in a variety of plant species. ME feeding of males of the B. dorsalis complex is known to enhance their mating competitiveness. Within B. dorsalis, recent studies show that Asian and African populations of B. dorsalis are sexually compatible, while populations of B. dorsalis and Bactrocera carambolae are relatively incompatible. The objectives of this study were to examine whether ME feeding by males affects mating compatibility between Asian and African populations of B. dorsalis and ME feeding reduces male mating incompatibility between B. dorsalis (Asian population) and B. carambolae. The data confirmed that Asian and African populations of B. dorsalis are sexually compatible for mating and showed that ME feeding only increased the number of matings. Though ME feeding also increased the number of matings of B. dorsalis (Asian population) and B. carambolae males but the sexual incompatibility between both species was not reduced by treatment with ME. These results conform to the efforts resolving the biological species limits among B. dorsalis complex and have implications for fruit fly control programs in fields and horticultural trade.

  2. Effects of Methyl Eugenol Feeding on Mating Compatibility of Asian Population of Bactrocera dorsalis (Diptera: Tephritidae) with African Population and with B. carambolae

    PubMed Central

    Haq, Ihsan ul; Vreysen, Marc J. B.; Schutze, Mark; Hendrichs, Jorge; Shelly, Todd

    2016-01-01

    Males of some species included in the Bactrocera dorsalis complex are strongly attracted to methyl eugenol (ME) (1,2-dimethoxy-4-(2-propenyl) benzene), a natural compound occurring in a variety of plant species. ME feeding of males of the B. dorsalis complex is known to enhance their mating competitiveness. Within B. dorsalis, recent studies show that Asian and African populations of B. dorsalis are sexually compatible, while populations of B. dorsalis and Bactrocera carambolae are relatively incompatible. The objectives of this study were to examine whether ME feeding by males affects mating compatibility between Asian and African populations of B. dorsalis and ME feeding reduces male mating incompatibility between B. dorsalis (Asian population) and B. carambolae. The data confirmed that Asian and African populations of B. dorsalis are sexually compatible for mating and showed that ME feeding only increased the number of matings. Though ME feeding also increased the number of matings of B. dorsalis (Asian population) and B. carambolae males but the sexual incompatibility between both species was not reduced by treatment with ME. These results conform to the efforts resolving the biological species limits among B. dorsalis complex and have implications for fruit fly control programs in fields and horticultural trade. PMID:26362991

  3. Simultaneous Visual Discrimination in Asian Elephants

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Nissani, Moti; Hoefler-Nissani, Donna; Lay, U. Tin; Htun, U. Wan

    2005-01-01

    Two experiments explored the behavior of 20 Asian elephants ("Elephas aximus") in simultaneous visual discrimination tasks. In Experiment 1, 7 Burmese logging elephants acquired a white+/black- discrimination, reaching criterion in a mean of 2.6 sessions and 117 discrete trials, whereas 4 elephants acquired a black+/white- discrimination in 5.3…

  4. Clinical outcome of skin yaws lesions after treatment with benzathinebenzylpenicillin in a pygmy population in Lobaye, Central African Republic

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Yaws is a bacterial skin and bone infectious disease caused by Treponema pallidum pertenue. It is endemic, particularly among pygmies in Central African Republic. To assess the clinical cure rate after treatment with benzathinepenicillin in this population, we conducted a cohort survey of 243 patients in the Lobaye region. Findings and conclusion The rate of healing of lesions after 5 months was 95.9%. This relatively satisfactory level of therapeutic response implies that yaws could be controlled in the Central African Republic. Thus, reinforcement of the management of new cases and of contacts is suggested. PMID:22171605

  5. Under-reporting of dietary energy intake in five populations of the African diaspora.

    PubMed

    Orcholski, Lindsay; Luke, Amy; Plange-Rhule, Jacob; Bovet, Pascal; Forrester, Terrence E; Lambert, Estelle V; Dugas, Lara R; Kettmann, Elizabeth; Durazo-Arvizu, Ramon A; Cooper, Richard S; Schoeller, Dale A

    2015-02-14

    Studies on the role of diet in the development of chronic diseases often rely on self-report surveys of dietary intake. Unfortunately, many validity studies have demonstrated that self-reported dietary intake is subject to systematic under-reporting, although the vast majority of such studies have been conducted in industrialised countries. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether or not systematic reporting error exists among the individuals of African ancestry (n 324) in five countries distributed across the Human Development Index (HDI) scale, a UN statistic devised to rank countries on non-income factors plus economic indicators. Using two 24 h dietary recalls to assess energy intake and the doubly labelled water method to assess total energy expenditure, we calculated the difference between these two values ((self-report - expenditure/expenditure) × 100) to identify under-reporting of habitual energy intake in selected communities in Ghana, South Africa, Seychelles, Jamaica and the USA. Under-reporting of habitual energy intake was observed in all the five countries. The South African cohort exhibited the highest mean under-reporting ( - 52·1% of energy) compared with the cohorts of Ghana ( - 22·5%), Jamaica ( - 17·9%), Seychelles ( - 25·0%) and the USA ( - 18·5%). BMI was the most consistent predictor of under-reporting compared with other predictors. In conclusion, there is substantial under-reporting of dietary energy intake in populations across the whole range of the HDI, and this systematic reporting error increases according to the BMI of an individual.

  6. Sex difference of autosomal alleles in populations of European and African descent

    PubMed Central

    Zuo, Lingjun; Wang, Tong; Lin, Xiandong; Wang, Jijun; Tan, Yunlong; Wang, Xiaoping; Yu, Xueqing; Luo, Xingguang

    2015-01-01

    In the present study, we aimed to report the individual sex-different genetic markers across autosomes in European- and African-origin populations. A total of 8,400 females and 8,081 males in 19 independent cohorts were genotyped across genomes using Illumina or Affymetrix arrays. The allele frequencies were compared between females and males in 9 non-clean cohorts (with some human disease traits) using genome-wide logistic regression and then the nominally significant associations were replicated across 10 clean cohorts (without disease traits). Meta-analysis was performed to derive the combined p values across all cohorts. We found 13 markers that were genome-wide significant (p≤5×10−8) between females and males in the meta-analysis of all cohorts of European descent, including rs7740449 at SYNE1, rs7531151 at PLD5, rs697455 at PPP1R12B, rs6745746 at LOC100128413, rs17000079 at PARM1, rs11948070 at PDE4D, rs7801825 at INSIG1, rs9551642 at MTUS2, rs2932174 at TPTE2, rs1961597 at SALL3, rs4117529 at METTL4, rs6021473 at SALL4 and rs6092466 at RAE1, and one marker, i.e., rs10145208 at PCNX, that was genome-wide significant in the meta-analysis of all cohorts of African descent. The most robust finding was rs7740449 at SYNE1, next to ESR1. We conclude that there are many sex-different markers on autosomes. These markers may be informative in differentiating females and males. PMID:26702338

  7. Genetic risk factors for nonsyndromic cleft lip with or without cleft palate in a Brazilian population with high African ancestry.

    PubMed

    do Rego Borges, Andrea; Sá, Jamile; Hoshi, Ryuichi; Viena, Camila Sane; Mariano, Lorena C; de Castro Veiga, Patricia; Medrado, Alena Peixoto; Machado, Renato Assis; de Aquino, Sibele Nascimento; Messetti, Ana Camila; Spritz, Richard A; Coletta, Ricardo D; Reis, Silvia R A

    2015-10-01

    Nonsyndromic cleft lip with or without cleft palate (NSCL ± P) is the most common orofacial birth defect, exhibiting variable prevalence around the world, often attributed to ethnic and environmental differences. Linkage analyses and genome-wide association studies have identified several genomic susceptibility regions for NSCL ± P, mostly in European-derived or Asian populations. Genetic predisposition to NSCL ± P is ethnicity-dependent, and the genetic basis of susceptibility to NSCL ± P likely varies among populations. The population of Brazil is highly admixed, with highly variable ancestry; thus, the genetic determinants of NSCL ± P susceptibility may be quite different. This study tested association of 8 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), previously identified by genome-wide studies in other populations, with NSCL ± P in a Brazilian population with high African ancestry. SNPs rs560426, rs642961, rs1530300, rs987525, rs3758249, rs7078160, rs17085106, and rs13041247 were genotyped in 293 Brazilian patients with NSCL ± P and 352 unaffected Brazilian controls. Each sample was also genotyped for 40 biallelic short insertion/deletion polymorphic markers to characterize genetic ancestry. The average African ancestry background was 31.1% for the NSCL ± P group and 36.7% for the control group. After adjustment for ancestry and multiple testing, the minor alleles of rs3758249 (OR: 1.58, 95% CI: 1.25-2.01, P = 0.0001) and rs7078160 (OR: 1.59, 95% CI: 1.21-2.07, P = 0.0002) were significantly associated with risk of NSCL ± P. Polymorphisms located in IRF6 (rs642961) and 8q24 (rs1530300 and rs987525) showed marginal associations in this Brazilian population with high African ancestry. These results indicate that rs3758249 at 9q22 and rs7078160 at 10q25.3 represent risk loci for NSCL ± P in the Brazilian population with high African ancestry.

  8. Firearm and Nonfirearm Homicide in 5 South African Cities: A Retrospective Population-Based Study

    PubMed Central

    Thompson, Mary Lou; Myers, Jonathan E.

    2014-01-01

    Objective. We assessed the effectiveness of South Africa’s Firearm Control Act (FCA), passed in 2000, on firearm homicide rates compared with rates of nonfirearm homicide across 5 South African cities from 2001 to 2005. Methods. We conducted a retrospective population-based study of 37 067 firearm and nonfirearm homicide cases. Generalized linear models helped estimate and compare time trends of firearm and nonfirearm homicides, adjusting for age, sex, race, day of week, city, year of death, and population size. Results. There was a statistically significant decreasing trend regarding firearm homicides from 2001, with an adjusted year-on-year homicide rate ratio of 0.864 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.848, 0.880), representing a decrease of 13.6% per annum. The year-on-year decrease in nonfirearm homicide rates was also significant, but considerably lower at 0.976 (95% CI = 0.954, 0.997). Results suggest that 4585 (95% CI = 4427, 4723) lives were saved across 5 cities from 2001 to 2005 because of the FCA. Conclusions. Strength, timing and consistent decline suggest stricter gun control mediated by the FCA accounted for a significant decrease in homicide overall, and firearm homicide in particular, during the study period. PMID:24432917

  9. Context-dependent survival, fecundity and predicted population-level consequences of brucellosis in African buffalo.

    PubMed

    Gorsich, Erin E; Ezenwa, Vanessa O; Cross, Paul C; Bengis, Roy G; Jolles, Anna E

    2015-07-01

    Chronic infections may have negative impacts on wildlife populations, yet their effects are difficult to detect in the absence of long-term population monitoring. Brucella abortus, the bacteria responsible for bovine brucellosis, causes chronic infections and abortions in wild and domestic ungulates, but its impact on population dynamics is not well understood. We report infection patterns and fitness correlates of bovine brucellosis in African buffalo based on (1) 7 years of cross-sectional disease surveys and (2) a 4-year longitudinal study in Kruger National Park (KNP), South Africa. We then used a matrix population model to translate these observed patterns into predicted population-level effects. Annual brucellosis seroprevalence ranged from 8·7% (95% CI = 1·8-15·6) to 47·6% (95% CI = 35·1-60·1) increased with age until adulthood (>6) and varied by location within KNP. Animals were on average in worse condition after testing positive for brucellosis (F = -5·074, P < 0·0001), and infection was associated with a 2·0 (95% CI = 1·1-3·7) fold increase in mortality (χ(2)  = 2·039, P = 0·036). Buffalo in low body condition were associated with lower reproductive success (F = 2·683, P = 0·034), but there was no association between brucellosis and pregnancy or being observed with a calf. For the range of body condition scores observed in the population, the model-predicted growth rate was λ = 1·11 (95% CI = 1·02-1·21) in herds without brucellosis and λ = 1·00 (95% CI = 0·85-1·16) when brucellosis seroprevalence was 30%. Our results suggest that brucellosis infection can potentially result in reduced population growth rates, but because these effects varied with demographic and environmental conditions, they may remain unseen without intensive, longitudinal monitoring.

  10. [Partnership in population and development. First African Meeting on South-South Partnership in Reproductive Health and Population, Tunis, July 9-11, 1997].

    PubMed

    1997-09-01

    10 southern hemisphere countries (Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, Kenya, Indonesia, Morocco, Mexico, Thailand, Tunisia, and Zimbabwe) have created a new international initiative known as the "Partnership in Population and Development." The principal objective is to create a more effective mechanism for developing countries to share their experiences through technical assistance and south-south coordination. The 10 countries have developed population and family planning programs over the past 2 decades with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, World Bank, and UN Population Fund. The Partnership in Population and Development is directed by an Administrative Council composed of representatives from each country, who are generally the highest officials in the area of reproductive health and family planning. The First African Meeting for South-South Cooperation in Reproductive Health/Family Planning and Population, held in Tunis in July 1997, was organized in collaboration with the Secretariat of the partnership and with the participation of representatives of 12 French-speaking African countries and of several international organizations. The meeting allowed the participants to express their opinions concerning the principles of the South-South Partnership and the practical mechanisms that would allow it to facilitate exchanges of information and experiences between African countries.

  11. Multiple and differentiated contributions to the male gene pool of pastoral and farmer populations of the African Sahel.

    PubMed

    Bučková, Jana; Cerný, Viktor; Novelletto, Andrea

    2013-05-01

    The African Sahel is conducive to studies of divergence/admixture genetic events as a result of its population history being so closely related with past climatic changes. Today, it is a place of the co-existence of two differing food-producing subsistence systems, i.e., that of sedentary farmers and nomadic pastoralists, whose populations have likely been formed from several dispersed indigenous hunter-gatherer groups. Using new methodology, we show here that the male gene pool of the extant populations of the African Sahel harbors signatures of multiple and differentiated contributions from different genetic sources. We also show that even if the Fulani pastoralists and their neighboring farmers share high frequencies of four Y chromosome subhaplogroups of E, they have drawn on molecularly differentiated subgroups at different times. These findings, based on combinations of SNP and STR polymorphisms, add to our previous knowledge and highlight the role of differences in the demographic history and displacements of the Sahelian populations as a major factor in the segregation of the Y chromosome lineages in Africa. Interestingly, within the Fulani pastoralist population as a whole, a differentiation of the groups from Niger is characterized by their high presence of R1b-M343 and E1b1b1-M35. Moreover, the R1b-M343 is represented in our dataset exclusively in the Fulani group and our analyses infer a north-to-south African migration route during a recent past.

  12. Genome-Wide SNP Analysis of Southern African Populations Provides New Insights into the Dispersal of Bantu-Speaking Groups

    PubMed Central

    González-Santos, Miguel; Montinaro, Francesco; Oosthuizen, Ockie; Oosthuizen, Erica; Busby, George B.J.; Anagnostou, Paolo; Destro-Bisol, Giovanni; Pascali, Vincenzo; Capelli, Cristian

    2015-01-01

    The expansion of Bantu-speaking agropastoralist populations had a great impact on the genetic, linguistic, and cultural variation of sub-Saharan Africa. It is generally accepted that Bantu languages originated in an area around the present border between Cameroon and Nigeria approximately 5,000 years ago, from where they spread South and East becoming the largest African linguistic branch. The demic consequences of this event are reflected in the relatively high genetic homogeneity observed across most of sub-Saharan Africa populations. In this work, we explored genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism data from 28 populations to characterize the genetic components present in sub-Saharan African populations. Combining novel data from four Southern African populations with previously published results, we reject the hypothesis that the “non-Bantu” genetic component reported in South-Eastern Africa (Mozambique) reflects extensive gene flow between incoming agriculturalist and resident hunter-gatherer communities. We alternatively suggest that this novel component is the result of demographic dynamics associated with the Bantu dispersal. PMID:26363465

  13. Sleep paralysis and trauma, psychiatric symptoms and disorders in an adult African American population attending primary medical care.

    PubMed

    Mellman, Thomas A; Aigbogun, Notalelomwan; Graves, Ruth Elaine; Lawson, William B; Alim, Tanya N

    2008-01-01

    The occurrence of sleep paralysis (SP) absent narcolepsy appears to not be uncommon in African Americans and probably other non-European groups. Prior research has linked SP to trauma and psychiatric disorders and suggested a specific relationship to panic disorder in African Americans. The objective of our study was to evaluate relationships of SP with trauma, concurrent psychiatric symptoms and lifetime psychiatric diagnoses in an adult African American population recruited from primary care. Cross sectional study with surveys and diagnostic interviews; Patients attending primary care clinics filled out a survey that determined the 6 month prevalence and associated features of SP, a panic disorder screen, the self-rated Hamilton Depression Scale, and an inventory of trauma exposure. A subset of trauma-exposed participants (N = 142) received comprehensive diagnostic interviews that incorporated the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV and the Clinician Assessed PTSD Scale. Four hundred and forty-one adults participated (mean age-40.0 SD = 13.3, 68% female, 95% African American). Fourteen percent endorsed recent SP. In approximately 1/3 of those with SP, episodes also featured panic symptoms. SP was strongly associated with trauma history, and concurrent anxiety and mood symptoms. SP was not associated with specific psychiatric disorders other than lifetime (but not current) alcohol or substance use disorders. Our findings suggest that SP is not uncommon in adult African Americans and is associated with trauma and concurrent distress but not with a specific psychiatric diagnosis.

  14. Understanding long-term variations in an elephant piosphere effect to manage impacts.

    PubMed

    Landman, Marietjie; Schoeman, David S; Hall-Martin, Anthony J; Kerley, Graham I H

    2012-01-01

    Surface water availability is a key driver of elephant impacts on biological diversity. Thus, understanding the spatio-temporal variations of these impacts in relation to water is critical to their management. However, elephant piosphere effects (i.e. the radial pattern of attenuating impact) are poorly described, with few long-term quantitative studies. Our understanding is further confounded by the complexity of systems with elephant (i.e. fenced, multiple water points, seasonal water availability, varying population densities) that likely limit the use of conceptual models to predict these impacts. Using 31 years of data on shrub structure in the succulent thickets of the Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa, we tested elephant effects at a single water point. Shrub structure showed a clear sigmoid response with distance from water, declining at both the upper and lower limits of sampling. Adjacent to water, this decline caused a roughly 300-m radial expansion of the grass-dominated habitats that replace shrub communities. Despite the clear relationship between shrub structure and ecological functioning in thicket, the extent of elephant effects varied between these features with distance from water. Moreover, these patterns co-varied with other confounding variables (e.g. the location of neighboring water points), which limits our ability to predict such effects in the absence of long-term data. We predict that elephant have the ability to cause severe transformation in succulent thicket habitats with abundant water supply and elevated elephant numbers. However, these piosphere effects are complex, suggesting that a more integrated understanding of elephant impacts on ecological heterogeneity may be required before water availability is used as a tool to manage impacts. We caution against the establishment of water points in novel succulent thicket habitats, and advocate a significant reduction in water provisioning at our study site, albeit with greater

  15. Understanding Long-Term Variations in an Elephant Piosphere Effect to Manage Impacts

    PubMed Central

    Landman, Marietjie; Schoeman, David S.; Hall-Martin, Anthony J.; Kerley, Graham I. H.

    2012-01-01

    Surface water availability is a key driver of elephant impacts on biological diversity. Thus, understanding the spatio-temporal variations of these impacts in relation to water is critical to their management. However, elephant piosphere effects (i.e. the radial pattern of attenuating impact) are poorly described, with few long-term quantitative studies. Our understanding is further confounded by the complexity of systems with elephant (i.e. fenced, multiple water points, seasonal water availability, varying population densities) that likely limit the use of conceptual models to predict these impacts. Using 31 years of data on shrub structure in the succulent thickets of the Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa, we tested elephant effects at a single water point. Shrub structure showed a clear sigmoid response with distance from water, declining at both the upper and lower limits of sampling. Adjacent to water, this decline caused a roughly 300-m radial expansion of the grass-dominated habitats that replace shrub communities. Despite the clear relationship between shrub structure and ecological functioning in thicket, the extent of elephant effects varied between these features with distance from water. Moreover, these patterns co-varied with other confounding variables (e.g. the location of neighboring water points), which limits our ability to predict such effects in the absence of long-term data. We predict that elephant have the ability to cause severe transformation in succulent thicket habitats with abundant water supply and elevated elephant numbers. However, these piosphere effects are complex, suggesting that a more integrated understanding of elephant impacts on ecological heterogeneity may be required before water availability is used as a tool to manage impacts. We caution against the establishment of water points in novel succulent thicket habitats, and advocate a significant reduction in water provisioning at our study site, albeit with greater

  16. Population pharmacokinetics of rifapentine and its primary desacetyl metabolite in South African tuberculosis patients.

    PubMed

    Langdon, Grant; Wilkins, Justin; McFadyen, Lynn; McIlleron, Helen; Smith, Peter; Simonsson, Ulrika S H

    2005-11-01

    This study was designed to describe the population pharmacokinetics of rifapentine (RFP) and 25-desacetyl RFP in a South African pulmonary tuberculosis patient population. Special reference was made to studying the influence of previous exposure to rifampin (RIF) and the variability in pharmacokinetic parameters between patients and between occasions and the influence of different covariates. Patients were included in the study if they had been receiving first-line antimycobacterial therapy (rifampin, isoniazid, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol) for not less than 4 weeks and not more than 6 weeks and were divided into three RFP dosage groups based on weight: 600 mg, <45 kg; 750 mg, 46 to 55 kg; and 900 mg, >55 kg. Participants received a single oral dose of RFP together with concomitant antimycobacterial agents, excluding RIF, on study days 1 and 5 after they ingested a soup-based meal. The RFP and 25-desacetyl RFP concentration-time data were analyzed by nonlinear mixed-effect modeling using NONMEM. The pharmacokinetics of the parent drug were modeled separately, and the individual pharmacokinetic parameters were used as inputs for the 25-desacetyl RFP pharmacokinetic model. A one-compartment disposition model was found to best describe the data for both the parent and the metabolite, and the metabolite was assumed to be formed only from the central compartment of the parent drug. Prior treatment with RIF did not alter the pharmacokinetics of RFP but appeared to increase the excretion of 25-desacetyl RFP in a nonlinear fashion. The RFP oral clearance and volume of distribution were found to increase by 0.049 liter/h and 0.691 liter, respectively, with a 1-kg increase from the median weight of 50 kg. The oral clearance of 25-desacetyl RFP was found to be 35% lower in female patients. The model developed here describes the population pharmacokinetics of RFP and its primary metabolite in tuberculosis patients and includes the effects of prior administration with RIF and

  17. Population Pharmacokinetics of Rifapentine and Its Primary Desacetyl Metabolite in South African Tuberculosis Patients

    PubMed Central

    Langdon, Grant; Wilkins, Justin; McFadyen, Lynn; McIlleron, Helen; Smith, Peter; Simonsson, Ulrika S. H.

    2005-01-01

    This study was designed to describe the population pharmacokinetics of rifapentine (RFP) and 25-desacetyl RFP in a South African pulmonary tuberculosis patient population. Special reference was made to studying the influence of previous exposure to rifampin (RIF) and the variability in pharmacokinetic parameters between patients and between occasions and the influence of different covariates. Patients were included in the study if they had been receiving first-line antimycobacterial therapy (rifampin, isoniazid, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol) for not less than 4 weeks and not more than 6 weeks and were divided into three RFP dosage groups based on weight: 600 mg, <45 kg; 750 mg, 46 to 55 kg; and 900 mg, >55 kg. Participants received a single oral dose of RFP together with concomitant antimycobacterial agents, excluding RIF, on study days 1 and 5 after they ingested a soup-based meal. The RFP and 25-desacetyl RFP concentration-time data were analyzed by nonlinear mixed-effect modeling using NONMEM. The pharmacokinetics of the parent drug were modeled separately, and the individual pharmacokinetic parameters were used as inputs for the 25-desacetyl RFP pharmacokinetic model. A one-compartment disposition model was found to best describe the data for both the parent and the metabolite, and the metabolite was assumed to be formed only from the central compartment of the parent drug. Prior treatment with RIF did not alter the pharmacokinetics of RFP but appeared to increase the excretion of 25-desacetyl RFP in a nonlinear fashion. The RFP oral clearance and volume of distribution were found to increase by 0.049 liter/h and 0.691 liter, respectively, with a 1-kg increase from the median weight of 50 kg. The oral clearance of 25-desacetyl RFP was found to be 35% lower in female patients. The model developed here describes the population pharmacokinetics of RFP and its primary metabolite in tuberculosis patients and includes the effects of prior administration with RIF and

  18. Common biological networks underlie genetic risk for alcoholism in African- and European-American populations

    PubMed Central

    Kos, Mark Z.; Yan, Jia; Dick, Danielle M.; Agrawal, Arpana; Bucholz, Kathleen K.; Rice, John P.; Johnson, Eric O.; Schuckit, Marc; Kuperman, Sam; Kramer, John; Goate, Alison M.; Tischfield, Jay A.; Foroud, Tatiana; Nurnberger, John; Hesselbrock, Victor; Porjesz, Bernice; Bierut, Laura J.; Edenberg, Howard J.; Almasy, Laura

    2013-01-01

    Alcohol dependence (AD) is a heritable substance addiction with adverse physical and psychological consequences, representing a major health and economic burden on societies worldwide. Genes thus far implicated via linkage, candidate gene and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) account for only a small fraction of its overall risk, with effects varying across ethnic groups. Here we investigate the genetic architecture of alcoholism and report on the extent to which common, genome-wide SNPs collectively account for risk of AD in two US populations, African-Americans (AAs) and European-Americans (EAs). Analyzing GWAS data for two independent case-control sample sets, we compute polymarker scores that are significantly associated with alcoholism (P=1.64 × 10−3 and 2.08 × 10−4 for EAs and AAs, respectively), reflecting the small individual effects of thousands of variants derived from patterns of allelic architecture that are population-specific. Simulations show that disease models based on rare and uncommon causal variants (MAF<0.05) best fit the observed distribution of polymarker signals. When scoring bins were annotated for gene location and examined for constituent biological networks, gene enrichment is observed for several cellular processes and functions in both EA and AA populations, transcending their underlying allelic differences. Our results reveal key insights into the complex etiology of AD, raising the possibility of an important role for rare and uncommon variants, and identify polygenic mechanisms that encompass a spectrum of disease liability, with some, such as chloride transporters and glycine metabolism genes, displaying subtle, modifying effects that are likely to escape detection in most GWAS designs. PMID:23607416

  19. Common biological networks underlie genetic risk for alcoholism in African- and European-American populations.

    PubMed

    Kos, M Z; Yan, J; Dick, D M; Agrawal, A; Bucholz, K K; Rice, J P; Johnson, E O; Schuckit, M; Kuperman, S; Kramer, J; Goate, A M; Tischfield, J A; Foroud, T; Nurnberger, J; Hesselbrock, V; Porjesz, B; Bierut, L J; Edenberg, H J; Almasy, L

    2013-07-01

    Alcohol dependence (AD) is a heritable substance addiction with adverse physical and psychological consequences, representing a major health and economic burden on societies worldwide. Genes thus far implicated via linkage, candidate gene and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) account for only a small fraction of its overall risk, with effects varying across ethnic groups. Here we investigate the genetic architecture of alcoholism and report on the extent to which common, genome-wide SNPs collectively account for risk of AD in two US populations, African-Americans (AAs) and European-Americans (EAs). Analyzing GWAS data for two independent case-control sample sets, we compute polymarker scores that are significantly associated with alcoholism (P = 1.64 × 10(-3) and 2.08 × 10(-4) for EAs and AAs, respectively), reflecting the small individual effects of thousands of variants derived from patterns of allelic architecture that are population specific. Simulations show that disease models based on rare and uncommon causal variants (MAF < 0.05) best fit the observed distribution of polymarker signals. When scoring bins were annotated for gene location and examined for constituent biological networks, gene enrichment is observed for several cellular processes and functions in both EA and AA populations, transcending their underlying allelic differences. Our results reveal key insights into the complex etiology of AD, raising the possibility of an important role for rare and uncommon variants, and identify polygenic mechanisms that encompass a spectrum of disease liability, with some, such as chloride transporters and glycine metabolism genes, displaying subtle, modifying effects that are likely to escape detection in most GWAS designs.

  20. Genome-wide comparison of African-ancestry populations from CARe and other cohorts reveals signals of natural selection.

    PubMed

    Bhatia, Gaurav; Patterson, Nick; Pasaniuc, Bogdan; Zaitlen, Noah; Genovese, Giulio; Pollack, Samuela; Mallick, Swapan; Myers, Simon; Tandon, Arti; Spencer, Chris; Palmer, Cameron D; Adeyemo, Adebowale A; Akylbekova, Ermeg L; Cupples, L Adrienne; Divers, Jasmin; Fornage, Myriam; Kao, W H Linda; Lange, Leslie; Li, Mingyao; Musani, Solomon; Mychaleckyj, Josyf C; Ogunniyi, Adesola; Papanicolaou, George; Rotimi, Charles N; Rotter, Jerome I; Ruczinski, Ingo; Salako, Babatunde; Siscovick, David S; Tayo, Bamidele O; Yang, Qiong; McCarroll, Steve; Sabeti, Pardis; Lettre, Guillaume; De Jager, Phil; Hirschhorn, Joel; Zhu, Xiaofeng; Cooper, Richard; Reich, David; Wilson, James G; Price, Alkes L

    2011-09-09

    The study of recent natural selection in human populations has important applications to human history and medicine. Positive natural selection drives the increase in beneficial alleles and plays a role in explaining diversity across human populations. By discovering traits subject to positive selection, we can better understand the population level response to environmental pressures including infectious disease. Our study examines unusual population differentiation between three large data sets to detect natural selection. The populations examined, African Americans, Nigerians, and Gambians, are genetically close to one another (F(ST) < 0.01 for all pairs), allowing us to detect selection even with moderate changes in allele frequency. We also develop a tree-based method to pinpoint the population in which selection occurred, incorporating information across populations. Our genome-wide significant results corroborate loci previously reported to be under selection in Africans including HBB and CD36. At the HLA locus on chromosome 6, results suggest the existence of multiple, independent targets of population-specific selective pressure. In addition, we report a genome-wide significant (p = 1.36 × 10(-11)) signal of selection in the prostate stem cell antigen (PSCA) gene. The most significantly differentiated marker in our analysis, rs2920283, is highly differentiated in both Africa and East Asia and has prior genome-wide significant associations to bladder and gastric cancers.

  1. Genetic variation in IGFBP2 and IGFBP5 is associated with breast cancer in populations of African descent.

    PubMed

    Garner, Chad P; Ding, Yuan C; John, Esther M; Ingles, Sue A; Olopade, Olufunmilayo I; Huo, Dezheng; Adebamowo, Clement; Ogundiran, Temidayo; Neuhausen, Susan L

    2008-04-01

    The insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling pathway is thought to play a major role in the etiology of breast cancer. Although incidence rates of breast cancer overall are lower in African Americans than in Caucasians, African-American women have a higher incidence under age 40 years, are diagnosed with more advanced disease, and have poorer prognosis. We investigated the association of breast cancer and genetic variants in genes in the IGF signaling pathway in a population-based case-control study of African-American women. We found significant associations at a locus encompassing parts of the IGFBP2 and IGFBP5 genes on chromosome 2q35, which we then replicated in a case-control study of Nigerian women. Based on those initial findings, we genotyped a total of 34 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across the region in both study populations. Statistically significant associations with breast cancer were observed across approximately 50 kb of DNA sequence encompassing three exons in the 3' end of IGFBP2 and three exons in the 3' end of IGFBP5. SNPs were associated with breast cancer risk with P values as low as P = 0.0038 and P = 0.01 in African-Americans and Nigerians, respectively. This study is the first to report associations between genetic variants in IGFBP2 and IGFBP5 and breast cancer risk.

  2. Analysis of betaS and betaA genes in a Mexican population with African roots.

    PubMed

    Magaña, María Teresa; Ongay, Zoyla; Tagle, Juan; Bentura, Gilberto; Cobián, José G; Perea, F Javier; Casas-Castañeda, Maricela; Sánchez-López, Yoaly J; Ibarra, Bertha

    2002-01-01

    To investigate the origin of the beta(A) and beta(S) genes in a Mexican population with African roots and a high frequency of hemoglobin S, we analyzed 467 individuals (288 unrelated) from different towns in the states of Guerrero and Oaxaca in the Costa Chica region. The frequency of the sickle-cell trait was 12.8%, which may represent a public health problem. The frequencies of the beta-haplotypes were determined from 350 nonrelated chromosomes (313 beta(A) and 37 beta(S)). We observed 15 different beta(A) haplotypes, the most common of which were haplotypes 1 (48.9%), 2 (13.4%), and 3 (13.4%). The calculation of pairwise distributions and Nei's genetic distance analysis using 32 worldwide populations showed that the beta(A) genes are more closely related to those of Mexican Mestizos and North Africans. Bantu and Benin haplotypes and haplotype 9 were related to the beta(S) genes, with frequencies of 78.8, 18.2, and 3.0%, respectively. Comparison of these haplotypes with 17 other populations revealed a high similitude with the population of the Central African Republic. These data suggest distinct origins for the beta(A) and beta(S) genes in Mexican individuals from the Costa Chica region.

  3. A Review of Dietary Surveys in the Adult South African Population from 2000 to 2015.

    PubMed

    Mchiza, Zandile J; Steyn, Nelia P; Hill, Jillian; Kruger, Annamarie; Schönfeldt, Hettie; Nel, Johanna; Wentzel-Viljoen, Edelweiss

    2015-09-23

    One serious concern of health policymakers in South Africa is the fact that there is no national data on the dietary intake of adult South Africans. The only national dietary study was done in children in 1999. Hence, it becomes difficult to plan intervention and strategies to combat malnutrition without national data on adults. The current review consequently assessed all dietary studies in adults from 2000 to June 2015 in an attempt to portray typical adult dietary intakes and to assess possible dietary deficiencies. Notable findings were that, in South Africa micronutrient deficiencies are still highly prevalent and energy intakes varied between very low intakes in informal settlements to very high intakes in urban centers. The most commonly deficient food groups observed are fruit and vegetables, and dairy. This has been attributed to high prices and lack of availability of these food groups in poorer urban areas and townships. In rural areas, access to healthy foods also remains a problem. A national nutrition monitoring system is recommended in order to identify dietary deficiencies in specific population groups.

  4. A Review of Dietary Surveys in the Adult South African Population from 2000 to 2015

    PubMed Central

    Mchiza, Zandile J.; Steyn, Nelia P.; Hill, Jillian; Kruger, Annamarie; Schönfeldt, Hettie; Nel, Johanna; Wentzel-Viljoen, Edelweiss

    2015-01-01

    One serious concern of health policymakers in South Africa is the fact that there is no national data on the dietary intake of adult South Africans. The only national dietary study was done in children in 1999. Hence, it becomes difficult to plan intervention and strategies to combat malnutrition without national data on adults. The current review consequently assessed all dietary studies in adults from 2000 to June 2015 in an attempt to portray typical adult dietary intakes and to assess possible dietary deficiencies. Notable findings were that, in South Africa micronutrient deficiencies are still highly prevalent and energy intakes varied between very low intakes in informal settlements to very high intakes in urban centers. The most commonly deficient food groups observed are fruit and vegetables, and dairy. This has been attributed to high prices and lack of availability of these food groups in poorer urban areas and townships. In rural areas, access to healthy foods also remains a problem. A national nutrition monitoring system is recommended in order to identify dietary deficiencies in specific population groups. PMID:26404371

  5. Culturally Competent Strategies for Recruitment and Retention of African-American Populations into Clinical Trials

    PubMed Central

    Otado, Jane; Kwagyan, John; Edwards, Diana; Ukaegbu, Alice; Rockcliffe, Faun; Osafo, Nana

    2015-01-01

    Purpose To identify successful recruitment strategies, challenges and best practices for researchers to engage African American communities in clinical studies taken into consideration target participants’ culture and context. Methods We reviewed 50 studies conducted from 2001-2012 at an inner-city research center to determine the type, duration, anticipated enrollments and actual enrollments. Survey was sent to study coordinators to obtain data on recruitment and retention strategies, challenges and dropout rates. We also interviewed 25 study coordinators on challenges and strategies. Results Of the 50 studies, 24 had completed recruitment at the time of this report. The completed studies achieved a median recruitment rate of 88% [range: 50-110]. Successful recruitment and retention strategies included: field-based strategy and snowballing. Major barriers were: distrust, compensation, education disadvantage, lack of interest and inability to have study partner. Strategies to reduce barriers included providing informational sessions, disseminating newsletters about study outcomes. Best practices include being culturally sensitive including demonstrating a caring attitude and being responsive to participants needs. Conclusions Cultural competence is critical in order to design and implement successful recruitment strategies in this population. Research teams should comprised of multi-ethnic staff, involve the community, demonstrate trust and deliver concise education of the research endeavor. PMID:25974328

  6. Subarachnoid hemorrhage in the African-American population: a cooperative study.

    PubMed Central

    Dennis, G. C.; Welch, B.; Cole, A. N.; Mendoza, R.; Morgan, J.; Epps, J.; Bernard, E.; St Louis, P.

    1997-01-01

    The clinical outcome of patients following subarachnoid hemorrhage is complicated by delayed cerebral ischemia and contributing factors such as hypertension. To observe the impact of hypertension and delayed cerebral ischemia on the outcome of a predominantly African-American cohort following subarachnoid hemorrhage, both retrospective (n = 42) and prospective (n = 21) studies were conducted. In the total pool (n = 63), the mean age was 49.7 years (range: 17 to 80) with a preponderance of female patients (70%). Aneurysm formation was significant in the region of the posterior communicating artery. Of the patients reviewed, 73.8% had preexisting hypertension and 45.9% developed delayed cerebral ischemia. Approximately 89% of the patients who suffered from delayed cerebral ischemia had hypertension. Results failed to display any significant beneficial association between the use of the calcium channel blocker nimodipine and delayed cerebral ischemia. Use of the antifibrinolytic drug aminocaproic acid demonstrated a worse patient outcome. It is not recommended that aminocaproic acid be used in this population. Subsequently, due to the proportional occurrence of delayed cerebral ischemia in hypertensive patients following subarachnoid hemorrhage, it is suggested that prophylactic surgical management of unruptured intracranial aneurysms be considered in hypertensive patients. Further study is needed to discern the association between hypertension, delayed cerebral ischemia, and stroke in patients following subarachnoid hemorrhage. PMID:9046763

  7. Genetic architecture of skin and eye color in an African-European admixed population.

    PubMed

    Beleza, Sandra; Johnson, Nicholas A; Candille, Sophie I; Absher, Devin M; Coram, Marc A; Lopes, Jailson; Campos, Joana; Araújo, Isabel Inês; Anderson, Tovi M; Vilhjálmsson, Bjarni J; Nordborg, Magnus; Correia E Silva, António; Shriver, Mark D; Rocha, Jorge; Barsh, Gregory S; Tang, Hua

    2013-03-01

    Variation in human skin and eye color is substantial and especially apparent in admixed populations, yet the underlying genetic architecture is poorly understood because most genome-wide studies are based on individuals of European ancestry. We study pigmentary variation in 699 individuals from Cape Verde, where extensive West African/European admixture has given rise to a broad range in trait values and genomic ancestry proportions. We develop and apply a new approach for measuring eye color, and identify two major loci (HERC2[OCA2] P = 2.3 × 10(-62), SLC24A5 P = 9.6 × 10(-9)) that account for both blue versus brown eye color and varying intensities of brown eye color. We identify four major loci (SLC24A5 P = 5.4 × 10(-27), TYR P = 1.1 × 10(-9), APBA2[OCA2] P = 1.5 × 10(-8), SLC45A2 P = 6 × 10(-9)) for skin color that together account for 35% of the total variance, but the genetic component with the largest effect (~44%) is average genomic ancestry. Our results suggest that adjacent cis-acting regulatory loci for OCA2 explain the relationship between skin and eye color, and point to an underlying genetic architecture in which several genes of moderate effect act together with many genes of small effect to explain ~70% of the estimated heritability.

  8. Genome-wide analysis of the structure of the South African Coloured Population in the Western Cape.

    PubMed

    de Wit, Erika; Delport, Wayne; Rugamika, Chimusa E; Meintjes, Ayton; Möller, Marlo; van Helden, Paul D; Seoighe, Cathal; Hoal, Eileen G

    2010-08-01

    Admixed populations present unique opportunities to discover the genetic factors underlying many multifactorial diseases. The geographical position and complex history of South Africa has led to the establishment of the unique admixed population known as the South African Coloured. Not much is known about the genetic make-up of this population, and the historical record is patchy. We genotyped 959 individuals from the Western Cape area, self-identified as belonging to this population, using the Affymetrix 500k genotyping platform. This resulted in nearly 75,000 autosomal SNPs that could be compared with populations represented in the International HapMap Project and the Human Genome Diversity Project. Analysis by means of both the admixture and linkage models in STRUCTURE revealed that the major ancestral components of this population are predominantly Khoesan (32-43%), Bantu-speaking Africans (20-36%), European (21-28%) and a smaller Asian contribution (9-11%), depending on the model used. This is consistent with historical data. While of great historical and genealogical interest, this information is also essential for future admixture mapping of disease genes in this population.

  9. Home Range and Ranging Behaviour of Bornean Elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis) Females

    PubMed Central

    Alfred, Raymond; Ahmad, Abd Hamid; Payne, Junaidi; Williams, Christy; Ambu, Laurentius Nayan; How, Phua Mui; Goossens, Benoit

    2012-01-01

    Background Home range is defined as the extent and location of the area covered annually by a wild animal in its natural habitat. Studies of African and Indian elephants in landscapes of largely open habitats have indicated that the sizes of the home range are determined not only by the food supplies and seasonal changes, but also by numerous other factors including availability of water sources, habitat loss and the existence of man-made barriers. The home range size for the Bornean elephant had never been investigated before. Methodology/Principal Findings The first satellite tracking program to investigate the movement of wild Bornean elephants in Sabah was initiated in 2005. Five adult female elephants were immobilized and neck collars were fitted with tracking devices. The sizes of their home range and movement patterns were determined using location data gathered from a satellite tracking system and analyzed by using the Minimum Convex Polygon and Harmonic Mean methods. Home range size was estimated to be 250 to 400 km2 in a non-fragmented forest and 600 km2 in a fragmented forest. The ranging behavior was influenced by the size of the natural forest habitat and the availability of permanent water sources. The movement pattern was influenced by human disturbance and the need to move from one feeding site to another. Conclusions/Significance Home range and movement rate were influenced by the degree of habitat fragmentation. Once habitat was cleared or converted, the availability of food plants and water sources were reduced, forcing the elephants to travel to adjacent forest areas. Therefore movement rate in fragmented forest was higher than in the non-fragmented forest. Finally, in fragmented habitat human and elephant conflict occurrences were likely to be higher, due to increased movement bringing elephants into contact more often with humans. PMID:22347469

  10. Genome-Wide Association of Body Fat Distribution in African Ancestry Populations Suggests New Loci

    PubMed Central

    Lange, Leslie; Demerath, Ellen W.; Palmas, Walter; Wojczynski, Mary K.; Ellis, Jaclyn C.; Vitolins, Mara Z.; Liu, Simin; Papanicolaou, George J.; Irvin, Marguerite R.; Xue, Luting; Griffin, Paula J.; Nalls, Michael A.; Adeyemo, Adebowale; Liu, Jiankang; Li, Guo; Ruiz-Narvaez, Edward A.; Chen, Wei-Min; Chen, Fang; Henderson, Brian E.; Millikan, Robert C.; Ambrosone, Christine B.; Strom, Sara S.; Guo, Xiuqing; Andrews, Jeanette S.; Sun, Yan V.; Mosley, Thomas H.; Yanek, Lisa R.; Shriner, Daniel; Haritunians, Talin; Rotter, Jerome I.; Speliotes, Elizabeth K.; Smith, Megan; Rosenberg, Lynn; Mychaleckyj, Josyf; Nayak, Uma; Spruill, Ida; Garvey, W. Timothy; Pettaway, Curtis; Nyante, Sarah; Bandera, Elisa V.; Britton, Angela F.; Zonderman, Alan B.; Rasmussen-Torvik, Laura J.; Chen, Yii-Der Ida; Ding, Jingzhong; Lohman, Kurt; Kritchevsky, Stephen B.; Zhao, Wei; Peyser, Patricia A.; Kardia, Sharon L. R.; Kabagambe, Edmond; Broeckel, Ulrich; Chen, Guanjie; Zhou, Jie; Wassertheil-Smoller, Sylvia; Neuhouser, Marian L.; Rampersaud, Evadnie; Psaty, Bruce; Kooperberg, Charles; Manson, JoAnn E.; Kuller, Lewis H.; Ochs-Balcom, Heather M.; Johnson, Karen C.; Sucheston, Lara; Ordovas, Jose M.; Palmer, Julie R.; Haiman, Christopher A.; McKnight, Barbara; Howard, Barbara V.; Becker, Diane M.; Bielak, Lawrence F.; Liu, Yongmei; Allison, Matthew A.; Grant, Struan F. A.; Burke, Gregory L.; Patel, Sanjay R.; Schreiner, Pamela J.; Borecki, Ingrid B.; Evans, Michele K.; Taylor, Herman; Sale, Michele M.; Howard, Virginia; Carlson, Christopher S.; Rotimi, Charles N.; Cushman, Mary; Harris, Tamara B.; Reiner, Alexander P.; Cupples, L. Adrienne; North, Kari E.; Fox, Caroline S.

    2013-01-01

    Central obesity, measured by waist circumference (WC) or waist-hip ratio (WHR), is a marker of body fat distribution. Although obesity disproportionately affects minority populations, few studies have conducted genome-wide association study (GWAS) of fat distribution among those of predominantly African ancestry (AA). We performed GWAS of WC and WHR, adjusted and unadjusted for BMI, in up to 33,591 and 27,350 AA individuals, respectively. We identified loci associated with fat distribution in AA individuals using meta-analyses of GWA results for WC and WHR (stage 1). Overall, 25 SNPs with single genomic control (GC)-corrected p-values<5.0×10−6 were followed-up (stage 2) in AA with WC and with WHR. Additionally, we interrogated genomic regions of previously identified European ancestry (EA) WHR loci among AA. In joint analysis of association results including both Stage 1 and 2 cohorts, 2 SNPs demonstrated association, rs2075064 at LHX2, p = 2.24×10−8 for WC-adjusted-for-BMI, and rs6931262 at RREB1, p = 2.48×10−8 for WHR-adjusted-for-BMI. However, neither signal was genome-wide significant after double GC-correction (LHX2: p = 6.5×10−8; RREB1: p = 5.7×10−8). Six of fourteen previously reported loci for waist in EA populations were significant (p<0.05 divided by the number of independent SNPs within the region) in AA studied here (TBX15-WARS2, GRB14, ADAMTS9, LY86, RSPO3, ITPR2-SSPN). Further, we observed associations with metabolic traits: rs13389219 at GRB14 associated with HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and fasting insulin, and rs13060013 at ADAMTS9 with HDL-cholesterol and fasting insulin. Finally, we observed nominal evidence for sexual dimorphism, with stronger results in AA women at the GRB14 locus (p for interaction = 0.02). In conclusion, we identified two suggestive loci associated with fat distribution in AA populations in addition to confirming 6 loci previously identified in populations of EA. These findings reinforce

  11. Ethical and legal implications of whole genome and whole exome sequencing in African populations

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    limited settings. Summary We conclude that, in order to meet the unique requirements of performing next generation sequencing-related research in African populations, novel approaches to the informed consent process are required. This will help to avoid infringement of privacy of individual subjects as well as to ensure that informed consent adheres to acceptable data protection levels with regard to use and transfer of such information. PMID:23714101

  12. Population pharmacokinetic modeling of glibenclamide in poorly controlled South African type 2 diabetic subjects

    PubMed Central

    Rambiritch, Virendra; Naidoo, Poobalan; Maharaj, Breminand; Pillai, Goonaseelan

    2016-01-01

    Aim The aim of this study was to describe the pharmacokinetics (PK) of glibenclamide in poorly controlled South African type 2 diabetic subjects using noncompartmental and model-based methods. Methods A total of 24 subjects with type 2 diabetes were administered increasing doses (0 mg/d, 2.5 mg/d, 5 mg/d, 10 mg/d, and 20 mg/d) of glibenclamide daily at 2-week intervals. Plasma glibenclamide, glucose, and insulin determinations were performed. Blood sampling times were 0 minute, 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes, and 120 minutes (post breakfast sampling) and 240 minutes, 270 minutes, 300 minutes, 330 minutes, 360 minutes, and 420 minutes (post lunch sampling) on days 14, 28, 42, 56, and 70 for doses of 0 mg, 2.5 mg, 5.0 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg, respectively. Blood sampling was performed after the steady state was reached. A total of 24 individuals in the data set contributed to a total of 841 observation records. The PK was analyzed using noncompartmental analysis methods, which were implemented in WinNonLin®, and population PK analysis using NONMEM®. Glibenclamide concentration data were log transformed prior to fitting. Results A two-compartmental disposition model was selected after evaluating one-, two-, and three-compartmental models to describe the time course of glibenclamide plasma concentration data. The one-compartment model adequately described the data; however, the two-compartment model provided a better fit. The three-compartment model failed to achieve successful convergence. A more complex model, to account for enterohepatic recirculation that was observed in the data, was unsuccessful. Conclusion In South African diabetic subjects, glibenclamide demonstrates linear PK and was best described by a two-compartmental model. Except for the absorption rate constant, the other PK parameters reported in this study are comparable to those reported in the scientific literature. The study is limited by the small study sample size and inclusion of poorly

  13. Enhanced Statistical Tests for GWAS in Admixed Populations: Assessment using African Americans from CARe and a Breast Cancer Consortium

    PubMed Central

    Pasaniuc, Bogdan; Zaitlen, Noah; Lettre, Guillaume; Chen, Gary K.; Tandon, Arti; Kao, W. H. Linda; Ruczinski, Ingo; Fornage, Myriam; Siscovick, David S.; Zhu, Xiaofeng; Larkin, Emma; Lange, Leslie A.; Cupples, L. Adrienne; Yang, Qiong; Akylbekova, Ermeg L.; Musani, Solomon K.; Divers, Jasmin; Mychaleckyj, Joe; Li, Mingyao; Papanicolaou, George J.; Millikan, Robert C.; Ambrosone, Christine B.; John, Esther M.; Bernstein, Leslie; Zheng, Wei; Hu, Jennifer J.; Ziegler, Regina G.; Nyante, Sarah J.; Bandera, Elisa V.; Ingles, Sue A.; Press, Michael F.; Chanock, Stephen J.; Deming, Sandra L.; Rodriguez-Gil, Jorge L.; Palmer, Cameron D.; Buxbaum, Sarah; Ekunwe, Lynette; Hirschhorn, Joel N.; Henderson, Brian E.; Myers, Simon; Haiman, Christopher A.; Reich, David; Patterson, Nick; Wilson, James G.; Price, Alkes L.

    2011-01-01

    While genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have primarily examined populations of European ancestry, more recent studies often involve additional populations, including admixed populations such as African Americans and Latinos. In admixed populations, linkage disequilibrium (LD) exists both at a fine scale in ancestral populations and at a coarse scale (admixture-LD) due to chromosomal segments of distinct ancestry. Disease association statistics in admixed populations have previously considered SNP association (LD mapping) or admixture association (mapping by admixture-LD), but not both. Here, we introduce a new statistical framework for combining SNP and admixture association in case-control studies, as well as methods for local ancestry-aware imputation. We illustrate the gain in statistical power achieved by these methods by analyzing data of 6,209 unrelated African Americans from the CARe project genotyped on the Affymetrix 6.0 chip, in conjunction with both simulated and real phenotypes, as well as by analyzing the FGFR2 locus using breast cancer GWAS data from 5,761 African-American women. We show that, at typed SNPs, our method yields an 8% increase in statistical power for finding disease risk loci compared to the power achieved by standard methods in case-control studies. At imputed SNPs, we observe an 11% increase in statistical power for mapping disease loci when our local ancestry-aware imputation framework and the new scoring statistic are jointly employed. Finally, we show that our method increases statistical power in regions harboring the causal SNP in the case when the causal SNP is untyped and cannot be imputed. Our methods and our publicly available software are broadly applicable to GWAS in admixed populations. PMID:21541012

  14. Assessment of microsatellite and SNP markers for parentage assignment in ex situ African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) populations.

    PubMed

    Labuschagne, Christiaan; Nupen, Lisa; Kotzé, Antoinette; Grobler, Paul J; Dalton, Desiré L

    2015-10-01

    Captive management of ex situ populations of endangered species is traditionally based on pedigree information derived from studbook data. However, molecular methods could provide a powerful set of complementary tools to verify studbook records and also contribute to improving the understanding of the genetic status of captive populations. Here, we compare the utility of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and microsatellites (MS) and two analytical methods for assigning parentage in ten families of captive African penguins held in South African facilities. We found that SNPs performed better than microsatellites under both analytical frameworks, but a combination of all markers was most informative. A subset of combined SNP (n = 14) and MS loci (n = 10) provided robust assessments of parentage. Captive or supportive breeding programs will play an important role in future African penguin conservation efforts as a source of individuals for reintroduction. Cooperation among these captive facilities is essential to facilitate this process and improve management. This study provided us with a useful set of SNP and MS markers for parentage and relatedness testing among these captive populations. Further assessment of the utility of these markers over multiple (>3) generations and the incorporation of a larger variety of relationships among individuals (e.g., half-siblings or cousins) is strongly suggested.

  15. Karyotypical characteristics of two allopatric African populations of anhydrobiotic Polypedilum Kieffer, 1912 (Diptera, Chironomidae) originating from Nigeria and Malawi

    PubMed Central

    Petrova, Ninel A.; Cornette, Richard; Shimura, Sachiko; Gusev, Oleg A.; Pemba, Dylo; Kikawada, Takahiro; Zhirov, Sergey V.; Okuda, Takashi

    2015-01-01

    Abstract The African chironomid Polypedilum vanderplanki Hinton, 1951 is the only chironomid able to withstand almost complete desiccation in an ametabolic state known as anhydrobiosis. The karyotypes of two allopatric populations of this anhydrobiotic chironomid, one from Nigeria and another from Malawi, were described according to the polytene giant chromosomes. The karyotype from the Nigerian population was presented as the reference chromosome map for Polypedilum vanderplanki. Both populations, Nigerian and Malawian, showed the same number of chromosomes (2n=8), but important differences were found in the band sequences of polytene chromosomes, and in the number and the arrangement of active regions between the two populations. Such important differences raise the possibility that the Malawian population could constitute a distinct new species of anhydrobiotic chironomid. PMID:26140160

  16. Unmanned aerial survey of elephants.

    PubMed

    Vermeulen, Cédric; Lejeune, Philippe; Lisein, Jonathan; Sawadogo, Prosper; Bouché, Philippe

    2013-01-01

    The use of a UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) was tested to survey large mammals in the Nazinga Game Ranch in the south of Burkina Faso. The Gatewing ×100™ equipped with a Ricoh GR III camera was used to test animal reaction as the UAS passed, and visibility on the images. No reaction was recorded as the UAS passed at a height of 100 m. Observations, made on a set of more than 7000 images, revealed that only elephants (Loxodonta africana) were easily visible while medium and small sized mammals were not. The easy observation of elephants allows experts to enumerate them on images acquired at a height of 100 m. We, therefore, implemented an aerial strip sample count along transects used for the annual wildlife foot count. A total of 34 elephants were recorded on 4 transects, each overflown twice. The elephant density was estimated at 2.47 elephants/km(2) with a coefficient of variation (CV%) of 36.10%. The main drawback of our UAS was its low autonomy (45 min). Increased endurance of small UAS is required to replace manned aircraft survey of large areas (about 1000 km of transect per day vs 40 km for our UAS). The monitoring strategy should be adapted according to the sampling plan. Also, the UAS is as expensive as a second-hand light aircraft. However the logistic and flight implementation are easier, the running costs are lower and its use is safer. Technological evolution will make civil UAS more efficient, allowing them to compete with light aircraft for aerial wildlife surveys.

  17. Unmanned Aerial Survey of Elephants

    PubMed Central

    Vermeulen, Cédric; Lejeune, Philippe; Lisein, Jonathan; Sawadogo, Prosper; Bouché, Philippe

    2013-01-01

    The use of a UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) was tested to survey large mammals in the Nazinga Game Ranch in the south of Burkina Faso. The Gatewing ×100™ equipped with a Ricoh GR III camera was used to test animal reaction as the UAS passed, and visibility on the images. No reaction was recorded as the UAS passed at a height of 100 m. Observations, made on a set of more than 7000 images, revealed that only elephants (Loxodonta africana) were easily visible while medium and small sized mammals were not. The easy observation of elephants allows experts to enumerate them on images acquired at a height of 100 m. We, therefore, implemented an aerial strip sample count along transects used for the annual wildlife foot count. A total of 34 elephants were recorded on 4 transects, each overflown twice. The elephant density was estimated at 2.47 elephants/km2 with a coefficient of variation (CV%) of 36.10%. The main drawback of our UAS was its low autonomy (45 min). Increased endurance of small UAS is required to replace manned aircraft survey of large areas (about 1000 km of transect per day vs 40 km for our UAS). The monitoring strategy should be adapted according to the sampling plan. Also, the UAS is as expensive as a second-hand light aircraft. However the logistic and flight implementation are easier, the running costs are lower and its use is safer. Technological evolution will make civil UAS more efficient, allowing them to compete with light aircraft for aerial wildlife surveys. PMID:23405088

  18. Proboscidean mitogenomics: chronology and mode of elephant evolution using mastodon as outgroup.

    PubMed

    Rohland, Nadin; Malaspinas, Anna-Sapfo; Pollack, Joshua L; Slatkin, Montgomery; Matheus, Paul; Hofreiter, Michael

    2007-08-01

    We have sequenced the complete mitochondrial genome of the extinct American mastodon (Mammut americanum) from an Alaskan fossil that is between 50,000 and 130,000 y old, extending the age range of genomic analyses by almost a complete glacial cycle. The sequence we obtained is substantially different from previously reported partial mastodon mitochondrial DNA sequences. By comparing those partial sequences to other proboscidean sequences, we conclude that we have obtained the first sequence of mastodon DNA ever reported. Using the sequence of the mastodon, which diverged 24-28 million years ago (mya) from the Elephantidae lineage, as an outgroup, we infer that the ancestors of African elephants diverged from the lineage leading to mammoths and Asian elephants approximately 7.6 mya and that mammoths and Asian elephants diverged approximately 6.7 mya. We also conclude that the nuclear genomes of the African savannah and forest elephants diverged approximately 4.0 mya, supporting the view that these two groups represent different species. Finally, we found the mitochondrial mutation rate of proboscideans to be roughly half of the rate in primates during at least the last 24 million years.

  19. Proboscidean Mitogenomics: Chronology and Mode of Elephant Evolution Using Mastodon as Outgroup

    PubMed Central

    Pollack, Joshua L; Slatkin, Montgomery; Matheus, Paul; Hofreiter, Michael

    2007-01-01

    We have sequenced the complete mitochondrial genome of the extinct American mastodon (Mammut americanum) from an Alaskan fossil that is between 50,000 and 130,000 y old, extending the age range of genomic analyses by almost a complete glacial cycle. The sequence we obtained is substantially different from previously reported partial mastodon mitochondrial DNA sequences. By comparing those partial sequences to other proboscidean sequences, we conclude that we have obtained the first sequence of mastodon DNA ever reported. Using the sequence of the mastodon, which diverged 24–28 million years ago (mya) from the Elephantidae lineage, as an outgroup, we infer that the ancestors of African elephants diverged from the lineage leading to mammoths and Asian elephants approximately 7.6 mya and that mammoths and Asian elephants diverged approximately 6.7 mya. We also conclude that the nuclear genomes of the African savannah and forest elephants diverged approximately 4.0 mya, supporting the view that these two groups represent different species. Finally, we found the mitochondrial mutation rate of proboscideans to be roughly half of the rate in primates during at least the last 24 million years. PMID:17676977

  20. Secretarybird Sagittarius serpentarius population trends and ecology: insights from South African citizen science data.

    PubMed

    Hofmeyr, Sally D; Symes, Craig T; Underhill, Leslie G

    2014-01-01

    Data from two long-term citizen science projects were used to examine the status and ecology of a Red List species, the Secretarybird Sagittarius serpentarius (Vulnerable), in South Africa. The first phase of the Southern African Bird Atlas Project operated from 1987 until 1992, and the second phase began in 2007. The Coordinated Avifaunal Roadcounts (CAR) project began in 1993 and by 1998 had expanded to cover much of the south-eastern half of the country. Data submitted up until April 2013 were used. A new method of comparing reporting rates between atlas projects was developed. Changing reporting rates are likely to reflect changes in abundance; in this instance the data suggest that the Secretarybird population decreased across much of South Africa between the two atlas projects, with a widespread important decrease in the Kruger National Park. Habitat data from the CAR project were analysed to gain insight into the ecology of the species. Secretarybirds tended to avoid transformed habitats across much of the area covered by the CAR project. In the winter rainfall region of the Western Cape, which is characterised by heavily transformed fynbos vegetation, at least 50% of Secretarybirds recorded were in transformed environments. This implies that in the Fynbos biome, at least, Secretarybirds have adapted to transformed environments to some degree. However, in the rest of the country it is likely that habitat loss, largely through widespread bush encroachment but also through agriculture, afforestation, and urbanisation, is a major threat to the species. The methods developed here represent a new approach to analysing data from long-term citizen science projects, which can provide important insights into a species' conservation status and ecology.

  1. ECG is an inefficient screening-tool for left ventricular hypertrophy in normotensive African children population

    PubMed Central

    Creta, Antonio; Campanale, Cosimo Marco; Fittipaldi, Mario; Giorgino, Riccardo; Quintarelli, Fabio; Satriano, Umberto; Cruciani, Alessandro; Antinolfi, Vincenzo; Di Berardino, Stefano; Costanzo, Davide; Bettini, Ranieri; Mangiameli, Giuseppe; Caricato, Marco; Mottini, Giovanni

    2016-01-01

    Background Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) is a marker of pediatric hypertension and predicts development of cardiovascular events. Electrocardiography (ECG) screening is used in pediatrics to detect LVH thanks to major accessibility, reproducibility and easy to use compared to transthoracic echocardiography (TTE), that remains the standard technique. Several diseases were previously investigated, but no data exists regarding our study population. The aim of our study was to evaluate the relationship between electrocardiographic and echocardiographic criteria of LVH in normotensive African children. Methods We studied 313 children (mean age 7,8 ± 3 yo), in north-Madagascar. They underwent ECG and TTE. Sokolow-Lyon index was calculated to identify ECG-LVH (>35 mm). Left ventricle mass (LVM) with TTE was calculated and indexed by height2.7 (LVMI2.7) and weight (LVMIw). We report the prevalence of TTE-LVH using three methods: (1) calculating percentiles age- and sex- specific with values >95th percentile identifying LVH; (2) LVMI2.7 >51 g/m2.7; (3) LVMIw >3.4 g/weight. Results 40 (13%) children showed LVMI values >95th percentile, 24 children (8%) an LVMI2.7 >51 g/m2.7 while 19 children (6%) an LVMIw >3.4 g/kg. LVH-ECG by Sokolow-Lyon index was present in five, three and three children respectively, with poor values of sensitivity (ranging from 13 to 16%), positive predictive value (from 11 to 18%) and high values of specificity (up to 92%). The effects of anthropometrics parameters on Sokolow-Lyon were analyzed and showed poor correlation. Conclusion ECG is a poor screening test for detecting LVH in children. In clinical practice, TTE remains the only tool to be used to exclude LVH. PMID:27651998

  2. The Episode of Genetic Drift Defining the Migration of Humans out of Africa Is Derived from a Large East African Population Size

    PubMed Central

    Elnour, Mohamed Ali; Isabirye, Dan; Okello, John; Hussien, Ayman; Kwiatksowski, Dominic; Hirbo, Jibril; Tishkoff, Sara; Ibrahim, Muntaser E.

    2014-01-01

    Human genetic variation particularly in Africa is still poorly understood. This is despite a consensus on the large African effective population size compared to populations from other continents. Based on sequencing of the mitochondrial Cytochrome C Oxidase subunit II (MT-CO2), and genome wide microsatellite data we observe evidence suggesting the effective size (Ne) of humans to be larger than the current estimates, with a foci of increased genetic diversity in east Africa, and a population size of east Africans being at least 2-6 fold larger than other populations. Both phylogenetic and network analysis indicate that east Africans possess more ancestral lineages in comparison to various continental populations placing them at the root of the human evolutionary tree. Our results also affirm east Africa as the likely spot from which migration towards Asia has taken place. The study reflects the spectacular level of sequence variation within east Africans in comparison to the global sample, and appeals for further studies that may contribute towards filling the existing gaps in the database. The implication of these data to current genomic research, as well as the need to carry out defined studies of human genetic variation that includes more African populations; particularly east Africans is paramount. PMID:24845801

  3. The episode of genetic drift defining the migration of humans out of Africa is derived from a large east African population size.

    PubMed

    Elhassan, Nuha; Gebremeskel, Eyoab Iyasu; Elnour, Mohamed Ali; Isabirye, Dan; Okello, John; Hussien, Ayman; Kwiatksowski, Dominic; Hirbo, Jibril; Tishkoff, Sara; Ibrahim, Muntaser E

    2014-01-01

    Human genetic variation particularly in Africa is still poorly understood. This is despite a consensus on the large African effective population size compared to populations from other continents. Based on sequencing of the mitochondrial Cytochrome C Oxidase subunit II (MT-CO2), and genome wide microsatellite data we observe evidence suggesting the effective size (Ne) of humans to be larger than the current estimates, with a foci of increased genetic diversity in east Africa, and a population size of east Africans being at least 2-6 fold larger than other populations. Both phylogenetic and network analysis indicate that east Africans possess more ancestral lineages in comparison to various continental populations placing them at the root of the human evolutionary tree. Our results also affirm east Africa as the likely spot from which migration towards Asia has taken place. The study reflects the spectacular level of sequence variation within east Africans in comparison to the global sample, and appeals for further studies that may contribute towards filling the existing gaps in the database. The implication of these data to current genomic research, as well as the need to carry out defined studies of human genetic variation that includes more African populations; particularly east Africans is paramount.

  4. Genetic Associations of PPARGC1A with Type 2 Diabetes: Differences among Populations with African Origins.

    PubMed

    Cheema, Amanpreet K; Li, Tan; Liuzzi, Juan P; Zarini, Gustavo G; Dorak, Mehmet T; Huffman, Fatma G

    2015-01-01

    The aim of this study was to assess the differences in correlation of PPARGC1A polymorphisms with type 2 diabetes (T2D) risk in adults of African origins: African Americans and Haitian Americans. The case-control study consisted of >30 years old, self-identified Haitian Americans (n = 110 cases and n = 116 controls) and African Americans (n = 124 cases and n = 122 controls) living in South Florida with and without T2D. Adjusted logistic regression indicated that both SNP rs7656250 (OR = 0.22, P = 0.005) and rs4235308 (OR = 0.42, P = 0.026) showed protective association with T2D in Haitian Americans. In African Americans, however, rs4235308 showed significant risk association with T2D (OR = 2.53, P = 0.028). After stratification with sex, in Haitian Americans, both rs4235308 (OR = 0.38, P = 0.026) and rs7656250 (OR = 0.23, P = 0.006) showed protective association with T2D in females whereas in African American males rs7656250 had statistically significant protective effect on T2D (OR = 0.37, P = 0.043). The trends observed for genetic association of PPARGC1A SNPs, rs4235308, and rs7656250 for T2D between Haitian Americans and African Americans point out differences in Black race and warrant replicative study with larger sample size.

  5. Using Poaching Levels and Elephant Distribution to Assess the Conservation Efficacy of Private, Communal and Government Land in Northern Kenya.

    PubMed

    Ihwagi, Festus W; Wang, Tiejun; Wittemyer, George; Skidmore, Andrew K; Toxopeus, Albertus G; Ngene, Shadrack; King, Juliet; Worden, Jeffrey; Omondi, Patrick; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain

    2015-01-01

    Efforts to curb elephant poaching have focused on reducing demand, confiscating ivory and boosting security patrols in elephant range. Where land is under multiple uses and ownership, determining the local poaching dynamics is important for identifying successful conservation models. Using 2,403 verified elephant, Loxodonta africana, mortality records collected from 2002 to 2012 and the results of aerial total counts of elephants conducted in 2002, 2008 and 2012 for the Laikipia-Samburu ecosystem of northern Kenya, we sought to determine the influence of land ownership and use on diurnal elephant distribution and on poaching levels. We show that the annual proportions of illegally killed (i.e., poached) elephants increased over the 11 years of the study, peaking at 70% of all recorded deaths in 2012. The type of land use was more strongly related to levels of poaching than was the type of ownership. Private ranches, comprising only 13% of land area, hosted almost half of the elephant population and had significantly lower levels of poaching than other land use types except for the officially designated national reserves (covering only 1.6% of elephant range in the ecosystem). Communal grazing lands hosted significantly fewer elephants than expected, but community areas set aside for wildlife demonstrated significantly higher numbers of elephants and lower illegal killing levels relative to non-designated community lands. While private lands had lower illegal killing levels than community conservancies, the success of the latter relative to other community-held lands shows the importance of this model of land use for conservation. This work highlights the relationship between illegal killing and various land ownership and use models, which can help focus anti-poaching activities.

  6. Using Poaching Levels and Elephant Distribution to Assess the Conservation Efficacy of Private, Communal and Government Land in Northern Kenya

    PubMed Central

    Ihwagi, Festus W.; Wang, Tiejun; Wittemyer, George; Skidmore, Andrew K.; Toxopeus, Albertus G.; Ngene, Shadrack; King, Juliet; Worden, Jeffrey; Omondi, Patrick; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain

    2015-01-01

    Efforts to curb elephant poaching have focused on reducing demand, confiscating ivory and boosting security patrols in elephant range. Where land is under multiple uses and ownership, determining the local poaching dynamics is important for identifying successful conservation models. Using 2,403 verified elephant, Loxodonta africana, mortality records collected from 2002 to 2012 and the results of aerial total counts of elephants conducted in 2002, 2008 and 2012 for the Laikipia-Samburu ecosystem of northern Kenya, we sought to determine the influence of land ownership and use on diurnal elephant distribution and on poaching levels. We show that the annual proportions of illegally killed (i.e., poached) elephants increased over the 11 years of the study, peaking at 70% of all recorded deaths in 2012. The type of land use was more strongly related to levels of poaching than was the type of ownership. Private ranches, comprising only 13% of land area, hosted almost half of the elephant population and had significantly lower levels of poaching than other land use types except for the officially designated national reserves (covering only 1.6% of elephant range in the ecosystem). Communal grazing lands hosted significantly fewer elephants than expected, but community areas set aside for wildlife demonstrated significantly higher numbers of elephants and lower illegal killing levels relative to non-designated community lands. While private lands had lower illegal killing levels than community conservancies, the success of the latter relative to other community-held lands shows the importance of this model of land use for conservation. This work highlights the relationship between illegal killing and various land ownership and use models, which can help focus anti-poaching activities. PMID:26407001

  7. Variants of the protein PRDM9 differentially regulate a set of human meiotic recombination hotspots highly active in African populations.

    PubMed

    Berg, Ingrid L; Neumann, Rita; Sarbajna, Shriparna; Odenthal-Hesse, Linda; Butler, Nicola J; Jeffreys, Alec J

    2011-07-26

    PRDM9 is a major specifier of human meiotic recombination hotspots, probably via binding of its zinc-finger repeat array to a DNA sequence motif associated with hotspots. However, our view of PRDM9 regulation, in terms of motifs defined and hotspots studied, has a strong bias toward the PRDM9 A variant particularly common in Europeans. We show that population diversity can reveal a second class of hotspots specifically activated by PRDM9 variants common in Africans but rare in Europeans. These African-enhanced hotspots nevertheless share very similar properties with their counterparts activated by the A variant. The specificity of hotspot activation is such that individuals with differing PRDM9 genotypes, even within the same population, can use substantially if not completely different sets of hotspots. Each African-enhanced hotspot is activated by a distinct spectrum of PRDM9 variants, despite the fact that all are predicted to bind the same sequence motif. This differential activation points to complex interactions between the zinc-finger array and hotspots and identifies features of the array that might be important in controlling hotspot activity.

  8. Population Structure of Clinical Pseudomonas aeruginosa from West and Central African Countries

    PubMed Central

    Cholley, Pascal; Ka, Roughyatou; Guyeux, Christophe; Thouverez, Michelle; Guessennd, Nathalie; Ghebremedhin, Beniam; Frank, Thierry; Bertrand, Xavier; Hocquet, Didier

    2014-01-01

    Background Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) has a non-clonal, epidemic population with a few widely distributed and frequently encountered sequence types (STs) called ‘high-risk clusters’. Clinical P. aeruginosa (clinPA) has been studied in all inhabited continents excepted in Africa, where a very few isolates have been analyzed. Here, we characterized a collection of clinPA isolates from four countries of West and Central Africa. Methodology 184 non-redundant isolates of clinPA from hospitals of Senegal, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Central African Republic were genotyped by MLST. We assessed their resistance level to antibiotics by agar diffusion and identified the extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) and metallo-β-lactamases (MBLs) by sequencing. The population structure of the species was determined by a nucleotide-based analysis of the entire PA MLST database and further localized on the phylogenetic tree (i) the sequence types (STs) of the present collection, (ii) the STs by continents, (iii) ESBL- and MBL-producing STs from the MLST database. Principal Findings We found 80 distinct STs, of which 24 had no relationship with any known STs. ‘High-risk’ international clonal complexes (CC155, CC244, CC235) were frequently found in West and Central Africa. The five VIM-2-producing isolates belonged to CC233 and CC244. GES-1 and GES-9 enzymes were produced by one CC235 and one ST1469 isolate, respectively. We showed the spread of ‘high-risk’ international clonal complexes, often described as multidrug-resistant on other continents, with a fully susceptible phenotype. The MBL- and ESBL-producing STs were scattered throughout the phylogenetic tree and our data suggest a poor association between a continent and a specific phylogroup. Conclusions ESBL- and MBL-encoding genes are borne by both successful international clonal complexes and distinct local STs in clinPA of West and Central Africa. Furthermore, our data suggest that the spread of a ST could be

  9. HH jets aligned perpendicular to elephant trunks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raga, A. C.; Lora, V.; Smith, N.

    2010-04-01

    We consider a system of outflows ejected from low mass young stars embedded in the tips of elephant trunks. We assume that these outflows have axes which are intrinsically perpendicular to the axes of the host elephant trunks. We then derive the distribution function expected for the angle between the projections of the outflow and elephant trunk axes on the plane of the sky. These distribution functions are useful for interpreting the alignments (or lack thereof) observed between HH outflow and elephant trunk axes in photoionized regions.

  10. The Y Alu polymorphism in southern African populations and its relationship to other Y-specific polymorphisms

    SciTech Connect

    Spurdle, A.B.; Jenkins, T. ); Hammer, M.F. )

    1994-02-01

    Y-linked polymorphisms were studied in a number of African populations. The frequency of the alleles of a Y-specific Alu insertion polymorphism, termed the [open quotes]Y Alu polymorphism,[close quotes] was determined in 889 individuals from 23 different African population groups. A trend in frequency was observed, with the insert largely absent in Caucasoid populations, at intermediate frequency in the Khoisan, and at high frequency in Negroids. The insert predates diversification of Homo sapiens, since it occurs in all groups. The Alu insertion is believed to result from a unique mutation event, and comparisons between this and several other Y-linked polymorphisms were carried out in an attempt to validate their usefulness in population and evolutionary studies. The p21A1/Taql and pDP31/EcoRI polymorphisms and 49a/TaqI alleles were all shown to have arisen on more than one occasion, and evidence exists for a preraciation crossover event between the Y-linked pseudoautosomal XY275 locus and the Y chromosome pseudoautosomal boundary. 33 refs., 4 figs., 5 tabs.

  11. Phenol sulphotransferase SULT1A1 polymorphism: molecular diagnosis and allele frequencies in Caucasian and African populations.

    PubMed Central

    Coughtrie, M W; Gilissen, R A; Shek, B; Strange, R C; Fryer, A A; Jones, P W; Bamber, D E

    1999-01-01

    Sulphation, catalysed by members of the sulphotransferase (SULT) enzyme family, is an important component of the body's chemical defence mechanism, but also acts to bioactivate mutagens such as hydroxylated aryl and heterocyclic amines. A major human sulphotransferase, SULT1A1 (P-PST), metabolizes and/or bioactivates many drugs, iodothyronines and hydroxylated aromatic amines. The enzyme activity varies widely within the population and is under genetic control. We have developed an assay detecting a G-->A transition in SULT1A1 that causes an Arg213-->His substitution associated with low SULT activity and altered enzyme properties, and have used it to assess the SULT1A1 genotype in Caucasian (n=293) and African (Nigerian, n=52) populations. We show that the mutant SULT1A1*2 allele is present at frequencies of 0.321 and 0.269 in the Caucasian and African populations respectively. We also demonstrate a significant age-related difference in SULT1A1 genotype within our Caucasian population, with increasing incidence of SULT1A1*1 homozygosity and decreasing incidence of SULT1A1*2 homozygosity with increasing age, indicating a potential association of SULT1A1*1 allozyme(s) with protection against cell and/or tissue damage during aging. PMID:9854023

  12. Geographic information systems: a useful tool to approach African swine fever surveillance management of wild pig populations.

    PubMed

    Rolesu, Sandro; Aloi, Daniela; Ghironi, Annalisa; Oggiano, Nicolino; Oggiano, Annalisa; Puggioni, Giantonella; Patta, Cristiana; Farina, Salvatore; Montinaro, Salvatore

    2007-01-01

    The epidemiological surveillance of African swine fever in wild pig populations requires the previous collection of numerous samples of biological materials for virological and serological testing from each animal that has been killed during the hunting season. The number of samples needs to demonstrate the absence of the disease at a prevalence level of 5% (and confidence level of 95%) in the area subject observed. Since the typology of the territory suitable for maintaining wild pig populations and the precise location can be identified, it is possible to pinpoint specific areas within Sardinia where organised sampling is undertaken. The results from tests are used to estimate the prevalence of the disease in the wild pig population in the place of origin. Areas were identified using the geographic information system technology with support from maps in the field. The correct localisation of seropositivity has led to the redefinition of high-risk areas for African swine fever. Results from the outbreaks and the surveillance of the wild pig population has confirmed the decreasing role of the wild boar in maintaining the disease.

  13. FACTORS RELATED TO HIV TESTING AMONG AN AFRICAN AMERICAN CHURCH-AFFILIATED POPULATION

    PubMed Central

    Berkley-Patton, Jannette; Moore, Erin W.; Hawes, Starlyn M.; Thompson, Carole Bowe; Bohn, Alexandria

    2014-01-01

    HIV continues to disproportionately impact communities of color, and more calls are being extended to African American churches to assist in HIV education and screening efforts. However, no studies have reported on the HIV testing practices of African American church-affiliated persons. This study examines demographic, social, and behavioral factors associated with ever receiving an HIV test and last 12-month HIV testing. Findings indicated not having insurance and condom use were predictors of ever receiving an HIV test. Predictors of HIV testing in the last 12 months included marital status (i.e., single, divorced, separated, or widowed) and intentions to get tested for HIV in the near future. These predictors should be considered when designing HIV education and screening interventions for African American church settings. PMID:22468975

  14. The species flocks of East African cichlid fishes: recent advances in molecular phylogenetics and population genetics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Salzburger, Walter; Meyer, Axel

    With more than 3,000 species, the fish family Cichlidae is one of the most species-rich families of vertebrates. Cichlids occur in southern and central America, Africa, Madagascar, and India. The hotspot of their biodiversity is East Africa, where they form adaptive radiations composed of hundreds of endemic species in several lakes of various sizes and ages. The unparalleled species richness of East African cichlids has been something of a conundrum for evolutionary biologists and ecologists, since it has been in doubt whether these hundreds of species arose by allopatric speciation or whether it is necessary to invoke somewhat less traditional models of speciation, such as micro-allopatric, peripatric, or even sympatric speciation or evolution through sexual selection mediated by female choice. Ernst Mayr's analyses of these evolutionary uniquely diverse species assemblages have contributed to a more direct approach to this problem and have led to a deeper understanding of the patterns and processes that caused the formation of these huge groups of species. We review here recent molecular data on population differentiation and phylogenetics, which have helped to unravel, to some extent, the patterns and processes that led to the formation and ecological maintenance of cichlid species flocks. It is becoming apparent that sexually selected traits do play an important role in speciation in micro-allopatric or even sympatric settings. Species richness seems to be roughly correlated with the surface area, but not the age, of the lakes. We observe that the oldest lineages of a species flock of cichlids are often less species-rich and live in the open water or deepwater habitats. While the species flocks of the Lake Malawai and the Lake Victoria areas were shown to be monophyletic, the cichlid assemblage of Lake Tanganyika seems to consist of several independent species flocks. Cichlids emerge as an evolutionary model system in which many fundamental questions in

  15. Neotropical Africanized honey bees have African mitochondrial DNA.

    PubMed

    Smith, D R; Taylor, O R; Brown, W M

    1989-05-18

    Non-indigenous African honey bees have invaded most of South and Central America in just over 30 years. The genetic composition of this population and the means by which it rapidly colonizes new territory remain controversial. In particular, it has been unclear whether this 'Africanized' population has resulted from interbreeding between African and domestic European bees, or is an essentially pure African population. Also, it has not been known whether this population expanded primarily by female or by male migration. Restriction site mapping of 62 mitochondrial DNAs of African bees from Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico reveals that 97% were of African (Apis mellifera scutellata) type. Although neotropical European apiary populations are rapidly Africanized by mating with neotropical African males, there is little reciprocal gene flow to the neotropical African population through European females. These are the first genetic data to indicate that the neotropical African population could be expanding its range by female migration.

  16. Diffuse Reflectance Spectroscopy Versus Mexameter(®) MX18 Measurements of Melanin and Erythema in an African Population.

    PubMed

    Wright, Caradee Y; Karsten, Aletta E; Wilkes, Marcus; Singh, Ann; du Plessis, Johan; Albers, Patricia N; Karsten, Petrus A

    2016-07-01

    Melanin provides protection against excess exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and related adverse health effects. Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS) can be used to calculate cutaneous melanin and erythema, but this is complex and has been mostly used for light-to-medium pigmented skin. Handheld reflectance spectrophotometers, such as the Mexameter(®) MX18, can also be used. We compared DRS-calculated melanin and erythema values with Mexameter melanin and erythema index values to understand how these techniques/measurements correlate in an African population of predominantly deeply pigmented skin. Five hundred and three participants comprised 68.5% self-identified Black African, 9.9% Indian/Asian, 18.4% White and 2.9% Colored. The majority of Black African (45%), Indian/Asian (34%) and Colored (53%) participants self-identified their skin as being "brown." Measured melanin levels increased with darker self-reported skin color. DRS-calculated and Mexameter melanin values demonstrated a positive correlation (Spearman rho = 0.87, P < 0.001). The results from both instruments showed erythema values were strongly correlated with their own melanin values. This finding is considered spurious and may result from the complexity of separating brown and red pigment when using narrowband reflectance techniques. Further work is needed to understand melanin, erythema and color in Black skin given sun-related health risks in vulnerable groups in Africa.

  17. Skeletal pathology and variable anatomy in elephant feet assessed using computed tomography

    PubMed Central

    Dixon, Jonathon J.I.; Warren-Smith, Chris; Hutchinson, John R.; Weller, Renate

    2017-01-01

    Foot problems are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in elephants, but are underreported due to difficulties in diagnosis, particularly of conditions affecting the bones and internal structures. Here we evaluate post-mortem computer tomographic (CT) scans of 52 feet from 21 elephants (seven African Loxodonta africana and 14 Asian Elephas maximus), describing both pathology and variant anatomy (including the appearance of phalangeal and sesamoid bones) that could be mistaken for disease. We found all the elephants in our study to have pathology of some type in at least one foot. The most common pathological changes observed were bone remodelling, enthesopathy, osseous cyst-like lesions, and osteoarthritis, with soft tissue mineralisation, osteitis, infectious osteoarthriti, subluxation, fracture and enostoses observed less frequently. Most feet had multiple categories of pathological change (81% with two or more diagnoses, versus 10% with a single diagnosis, and 9% without significant pathology). Much of the pathological change was focused over the middle/lateral digits, which bear most weight and experience high peak pressures during walking. We found remodelling and osteoarthritis to be correlated with increasing age, more enthesopathy in Asian elephants, and more cyst-like lesions in females. We also observed multipartite, missing and misshapen phalanges as common and apparently incidental findings. The proximal (paired) sesamoids can appear fused or absent, and the predigits (radial/tibial sesamoids) can be variably ossified, though are significantly more ossified in Asian elephants. Our study reinforces the need for regular examination and radiography of elephant feet to monitor for pathology and as a tool for improving welfare. PMID:28123909

  18. Non-invasive assessment of reproductive status and stress in captive Asian elephants in three south Indian zoos.

    PubMed

    Kumar, Vinod; Palugulla Reddy, Vivekananda; Kokkiligadda, Adiseshu; Shivaji, Sisinthy; Umapathy, Govindhaswamy

    2014-05-15

    Asian elephants in captivity need immediate attention to be bred so as to meet the increasing demand for captive elephants and to overcome the dependence on supplementing the captive stock with wild animals. Unfortunately, captive breeding programs across the globe have met with limited success and therefore more effort is needed to improve breeding in captivity. Endocrine profiling of reproductive hormones (progestagens and androgens) and the stress hormone (glucocorticoids) could facilitate better management and breeding strategies. In the present study, we investigated reproductive and stress physiology of 12 captive Asian elephants for 10-27 months using a non-invasive method based on steroid analysis of 1700 elephant dung samples. Most of the elephants were cycling regularly. Males during musth showed increased fecal androgen metabolite concentrations and exhibited a slight increase in fecal glucocorticoid metabolite levels. Elephants used in public festivals and processions showed significantly increased in faecal glucocorticoid metabolite levels. The results indicate that captive elephants require periodic health care, better husbandry practices and scientific management for sustainable captive population.

  19. Five novel missense mutations of the Lewis gene (FUT3) in African (Xhosa) and Caucasian populations in South Africa.

    PubMed

    Pang, H; Liu, Y; Koda, Y; Soejima, M; Jia, J; Schlaphoff, T; Du Toit, E D; Kimura, H

    1998-06-01

    Five novel missense mutations, viz., C304 A, T370 G, G484 A, G667 A, and G808 A, in the Lewis gene (FUT3) were detected in African (Xhosa) and Caucasian individuals in South Africa. These single base substitutions may result in changes in amino acid residues from Gln102 to Lys in the 304 mutation, Ser124 to Ala in the 370 mutation, Asp162 to Asn in the 484 mutation, Gly223 to Arg in the 667 mutation, and Val270 to Met in the 808 mutation. Out of the five novel mutations identified in this investigation, four new alleles (le484,667, le484,667,808, Le304, and Le370) were determined in the Xhosa population and two new alleles (le202,314,484 and Le304) in the Caucasian population. The determination of alpha(1,3/1,4)fucosyltransferase activity, after transfection of plasmids containing the new alleles into COS7 cells, suggested that alleles le484,667 and le484,667,808 encoded an inactive enzyme, and that alleles Le304 and Le370 encoded a functional enzyme. In addition, we also examined the incidence of five common alleles, Le59, le59,508 le59,1067, le202,314, and le1067 in two populations by the polymerase chain reaction/restriction fragment length polymorphism method and compared differences in the allele frequencies of FUT3 among three ethnic groups (Orientals, Africans, and Caucasians).

  20. Theodore E. Woodward Award: lactase persistence SNPs in African populations regulate promoter activity in intestinal cell culture.

    PubMed

    Sibley, Eric; Ahn, Jong Kun

    2011-01-01

    Lactase-phlorizin hydrolase, lactase, is the intestinal enzyme responsible for the digestion of the milk sugar lactose. The majority of the world's human population experiences a decline in expression of the lactase gene by late childhood (lactase non-persistence). Individuals with lactase persistence, however, continue to express high levels of the lactase gene throughout adulthood. Lactase persistence is a heritable autosomal dominant condition and has been strongly correlated with several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located ∼14 kb upstream of the lactase gene in different ethnic populations: -13910*T in Europeans and -13907*G, -13915*G, and -14010*C in several African populations. The coincidence of the four SNPs clustering within 100 bp strongly suggests that this region mediates the lactase non-persistence/persistence phenotype. Having previously characterized the European SNP, we aimed to determine whether the African SNPs similarly mediate a functional role in regulating the lactase promoter. Human intestinal Caco-2 cells were transfected with lactase SNP/promoter-reporter constructs and assayed for promoter activity. The -13907*G and -13915*G SNPs result in a significant enhancement of lactase promoter activity relative to the ancestral lactase non-persistence genotype. Such differential regulation by the SNPs is consistent with a causative role in the mechanism specifying the lactase persistence phenotype.

  1. A prospective study of childhood and adolescent antecedents of homelessness among a community population of African Americans.

    PubMed

    Fothergill, Kate E; Doherty, Elaine E; Robertson, Judith A; Ensminger, Margaret E

    2012-06-01

    Much is known about contemporaneous correlates of homelessness from studies of homeless individuals. However, few studies have prospectively examined early antecedents and prevalence of homelessness in community populations. We use data from a 35-year study of a community population of African Americans to examine relationships between homelessness and prior structural, family, school, and behavioral influences. Nearly 22% of males and 16% of females reported homelessness between ages 15 and 42, providing a rare estimate within an African American urban community population. In bivariate analyses, lower school bonds, depressed mood, violent behavior, and running away in adolescence are predictive for both males and females. Teen parenting and angry mood are unique influences for females, while for males, poor first grade classroom conduct and adolescent substance use are unique risks. In multivariate analyses, poor classroom conduct and weaker school bonds predict homelessness among males, while teen parenting does so for females. Running away before age 15 is strongly predictive of later homelessness for both males and females. These results reveal the relative influence of multiple, interrelated early risks on homelessness and confirm our hypothesis that factors linked to other poor outcomes also relate to homelessness, underscoring another benefit to early prevention efforts.

  2. Monitoring of African swine fever in the wild boar population of the most recent endemic area of Spain.

    PubMed

    Mur, L; Boadella, M; Martínez-López, B; Gallardo, C; Gortazar, C; Sánchez-Vizcaíno, J M

    2012-12-01

    Wild boars are natural hosts for African swine fever (ASF). The ASF virus (ASFV) can persist for long periods in the environment, such as in ticks and contaminated products, which may be sources of infection for wild boar populations. African swine fever was eradicated in domestic pig populations in Spain in 1995, after 35 years of significant effort. To determine whether ASFV can persist in wild boar hosts after it has been eradicated from domestic pigs and to study the role of wild boar in helping ASFV persist in the environment, we checked for the presence of ASFV in wild boars in Doñana National Park, one of the largest natural habitats of wild boar in Spain and one of the last areas where ASF was endemic prior its eradication. Samples from 158 animals collected between 2006 and 2010 were analysed using serological and nucleic acid-based diagnostic techniques recommended by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). None of the samples was found to be positive. These results confirm the absence of disease in wildlife in what was once one of the areas most affected by ASF in Spain, and they suggest that wild boars play a limited role in ASFV persistence. These results confirm that ASFV cannot persist in isolated wild boar populations for long periods of time without the interaction of other factors such as re-infection by contact with domestic pigs or by feeding on contaminated swill.

  3. QTL Mapping in Three Rice Populations Uncovers Major Genomic Regions Associated with African Rice Gall Midge Resistance.

    PubMed

    Yao, Nasser; Lee, Cheng-Ruei; Semagn, Kassa; Sow, Mounirou; Nwilene, Francis; Kolade, Olufisayo; Bocco, Roland; Oyetunji, Olumoye; Mitchell-Olds, Thomas; Ndjiondjop, Marie-Noëlle

    2016-01-01

    African rice gall midge (AfRGM) is one of the most destructive pests of irrigated and lowland African ecologies. This study aimed to identify the quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with AfRGM pest incidence and resistance in three independent bi-parental rice populations (ITA306xBW348-1, ITA306xTOG7106 and ITA306xTOS14519), and to conduct meta QTL (mQTL) analysis to explore whether any genomic regions are conserved across different genetic backgrounds. Composite interval mapping (CIM) conducted on the three populations independently uncovered a total of 28 QTLs associated with pest incidence (12) and pest severity (16). The number of QTLs per population associated with AfRGM resistance varied from three in the ITA306xBW348-1 population to eight in the ITA306xTOG7106 population. Each QTL individually explained 1.3 to 34.1% of the phenotypic variance. The major genomic region for AfRGM resistance had a LOD score and R2 of 60.0 and 34.1% respectively, and mapped at 111 cM on chromosome 4 (qAfrGM4) in the ITA306xTOS14519 population. The meta-analysis reduced the number of QTLs from 28 to 17 mQTLs, each explaining 1.3 to 24.5% of phenotypic variance, and narrowed the confidence intervals by 2.2 cM. There was only one minor effect mQTL on chromosome 1 that was common in the TOS14519 and TOG7106 genetic backgrounds; all other mQTLs were background specific. We are currently fine-mapping and validating the major effect genomic region on chromosome 4 (qAfRGM4). This is the first report in mapping the genomic regions associated with the AfRGM resistance, and will be highly useful for rice breeders.

  4. The distribution, density and three-dimensional histomorphology of Pacinian corpuscles in the foot of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) and their potential role in seismic communication.

    PubMed

    Bouley, D M; Alarcón, C N; Hildebrandt, T; O'Connell-Rodwell, C E

    2007-10-01

    Both Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephants produce low-frequency, high-amplitude rumbles that travel well through the ground as seismic waves, and field studies have shown that elephants may utilize these seismic signals as one form of communication. Unique elephant postures observed in field studies suggest that the elephants use their feet to 'listen' to these seismic signals, but the exact sensory mechanisms used by the elephant have never been characterized. The distribution, morphology and tissue density of Pacinian corpuscles, specialized mechanoreceptors, were studied in a forefoot and hindfoot of Asian elephants. Pacinian corpuscles were located in the dermis and distal digital cushion and were most densely localized to the anterior, posterior, medial and lateral region of each foot, with the highest numbers in the anterior region of the forefoot (52.19%) and the posterior region of the hindfoot (47.09%). Pacinian corpuscles were encapsulated, had a typical lamellar structure and were most often observed in large clusters. Three-dimensional reconstruction through serial sections of the dermis revealed that individual Pacinian corpuscles may be part of a cluster. By studying the distribution and density of these mechanoreceptors, we propose that Pacinian corpuscles are one possible anatomic mechanism used by elephants to detect seismic waves.

  5. Observation of a Rayleigh Wave Induced by Infrasonic Elephant Vocalizations: a Possible Communication Mode?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gunther, R.; O'Connell-Rodwell, C. E.; Klemperer, S.; Rodwell, T. C.; Haines, S.; Goldman, M.; Evans, J. R.

    2003-12-01

    experiments, the amplitudes of both the elephant-coupled Rayleigh wave and the elephant-driven airwave had decayed to almost ambient noise levels at the end of our 168-m-long recording spread. This was most likely due to the high ambient-noise levels during our experiment. Free-ranging African elephants have been shown to respond to low-frequency calls of other elephants at ranges of 2 km with an ideal outer limit of 10 km. Because a surface wave decays at only 1/r, we speculate that wild elephants may detect the Rayleigh waves of other elephants via bone conduction or somatosensory reception or both, and hence may communicate at greater distances than possible using infrasonic calls transmitted through the atmosphere.

  6. The Elephants Teach: Creative Writing since 1880

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Myers, David Gershom

    2006-01-01

    When Vladimir Nabokov was up for a chair in literature at Harvard, the linguist Roman Jakobson protested: "What's next? Shall we appoint elephants to teach zoology?" That anecdote, with which D. G. Myers begins "The Elephants Teach", perfectly frames the issues this book tackles. Myers explores more than a century of debate over how writing should…

  7. Eliminating Health Disparities in the African American Population: The Interface of Culture, Gender, and Power

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Airhihenbuwa, Collins O.; Liburd, Leandris

    2006-01-01

    Since the release of former Secretary Margaret Heckler's "Secretary's Task Force Report on Black and Minority Health" more than two decades ago, excess death from chronic diseases and other conditions between African Americans and Whites have increased. The conclusion of that report emphasized excess death and thus clinical care, paying…

  8. Suicide Attempts in an African Schizophrenia Population: An Assessment of Demographic Risk Factors

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Niehaus, D.J.H.; Laurent, C.; Jordaan, E.; Koen, L.; Oosthuizen, P.; Keyter, N.; Muller, J. E.; Mbanga, N. I.; Deleuze, J.-F.; Mallet, J.; Stein, D. J.; Emsley, R.

    2004-01-01

    This study investigated demographic variables, including affected sibling pair status, as risk factors for suicidal behavior in schizophrenia patients of African (Xhosa) descent. Xhosa subjects with schizophrenia were interviewed with the Diagnostic Interview for Genetic Studies (DIGS) and then stratified into two groups: those with ( n = 90) and…

  9. Geographic population structure of the African malaria vector Anopheles gambiae suggests a role for the forest-savannah biome transition as a barrier to gene flow.

    PubMed

    Pinto, J; Egyir-Yawson, A; Vicente, Jl; Gomes, B; Santolamazza, F; Moreno, M; Charlwood, Jd; Simard, F; Elissa, N; Weetman, D; Donnelly, Mj; Caccone, A; Della Torre, A

    2013-09-01

    The primary Afrotropical malaria mosquito vector Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto has a complex population structure. In west Africa, this species is split into two molecular forms and displays local and regional variation in chromosomal arrangements and behaviors. To investigate patterns of macrogeographic population substructure, 25 An. gambiae samples from 12 African countries were genotyped at 13 microsatellite loci. This analysis detected the presence of additional population structuring, with the M-form being subdivided into distinct west, central, and southern African genetic clusters. These clusters are coincident with the central African rainforest belt and northern and southern savannah biomes, which suggests restrictions to gene flow associated with the transition between these biomes. By contrast, geographically patterned population substructure appears much weaker within the S-form.

  10. Geographic population structure of the African malaria vector Anopheles gambiae suggests a role for the forest-savannah biome transition as a barrier to gene flow

    PubMed Central

    Pinto, J; Egyir-Yawson, A; Vicente, JL; Gomes, B; Santolamazza, F; Moreno, M; Charlwood, JD; Simard, F; Elissa, N; Weetman, D; Donnelly, MJ; Caccone, A; della Torre, A

    2013-01-01

    The primary Afrotropical malaria mosquito vector Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto has a complex population structure. In west Africa, this species is split into two molecular forms and displays local and regional variation in chromosomal arrangements and behaviors. To investigate patterns of macrogeographic population substructure, 25 An. gambiae samples from 12 African countries were genotyped at 13 microsatellite loci. This analysis detected the presence of additional population structuring, with the M-form being subdivided into distinct west, central, and southern African genetic clusters. These clusters are coincident with the central African rainforest belt and northern and southern savannah biomes, which suggests restrictions to gene flow associated with the transition between these biomes. By contrast, geographically patterned population substructure appears much weaker within the S-form. PMID:24062800

  11. Overrepresented Minorities in Special Education in the United States and Romania: Comparison between African-American and Roma Populations in Disability Studies

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Walker, Gabriela

    2008-01-01

    This manuscript briefly examines minority participation within the school population that is eligible for special education services--namely, African Americans in the United States and the Roma population in Romania. A large percentage of students from both minorities come to school unprepared to learn and they remain behind because of the…

  12. The Climate-Population Nexus in the East African Horn: Emerging Degradation Trends in Rangeland and Pastoral Livelihood Zones

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pricope, N. G.; Husak, G. J.; Funk, C. C.; Lopez-Carr, D.

    2014-12-01

    Increasing climate variability and extreme weather conditions along with declining trends in both rainfall and temperature represent major risk factors affecting agricultural production and food security in many regions of the world. We identify regions where significant rainfall decrease from 1979-2011 over the entire continent of Africa couples with significant human population density increase. The rangelands of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia in the East African Horn remain one of the world's most food insecure regions, yet have significantly increasing human populations predominantly dependent on pastoralist and agro-pastoralist livelihoods. Vegetation in this region is characterized by a variable mosaic of land covers, generally dominated by grasslands necessary for agro-pastoralism, interspersed by woody vegetation. Recent assessments indicate that widespread degradation is occurring, adversely impacting fragile ecosystems and human livelihoods. Using two underutilized MODIS products, we observe significant changes in vegetation patterns and productivity over the last decade all across the East African Horn. We observe significant vegetation browning trends in areas experiencing drying precipitation trends in addition to increasing population pressures. We also found that the drying precipitation trends only partially statistically explain the vegetation browning trends, further indicating that other factors such as population pressures and land use changes are responsible for the observed declining vegetation health. Furthermore, we show that the general vegetation browning trends persist even during years with normal rainfall conditions such as 2012, indicating potential long-term degradation of rangelands on which approximately 10 million people depend. These findings have serious implications for current and future regional food security monitoring and forecasting as well as for mitigation and adaptation strategies in a region where population is expected

  13. Linkage disequilibrium analysis reveals an albuminuria risk haplotype containing three missense mutations in the cubilin gene with striking differences among European and African ancestry populations

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background A recent meta-analysis described a variant (p.Ile2984Val) in the cubilin gene (CUBN) that is associated with levels of albuminuria in the general population and in diabetics. Methods We implemented a Linkage Disequilibrium (LD) search with data from the 1000 Genomes Project, on African and European population genomic sequences. Results We found that the p.Ile2984Val variation is part of a larger haplotype in European populations and it is almost absent in west Africans. This haplotype contains 19 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in very high LD, three of which are missense mutations (p.Leu2153Phe, p.Ile2984Val, p.Glu3002Gly), and two have not been previously reported. Notably, this European haplotype is absent in west African populations, and the frequency of each individual polymorphism differs significantly in Africans. Conclusions Genotyping of these variants in existing African origin sample sets coupled to measurements of urine albumin excretion levels should reveal which is the most likely functional candidate for albuminuria risk. The unique haplotypic structure of CUBN in different populations may leverage the effort to identify the functional variant and to shed light on evolution of the CUBN gene locus. PMID:23114252

  14. Sociocultural Behavior, Sex-Biased Admixture, and Effective Population Sizes in Central African Pygmies and Non-Pygmies

    PubMed Central

    Verdu, Paul; Becker, Noémie S.A.; Froment, Alain; Georges, Myriam; Grugni, Viola; Quintana-Murci, Lluis; Hombert, Jean-Marie; Van der Veen, Lolke; Le Bomin, Sylvie; Bahuchet, Serge; Heyer, Evelyne; Austerlitz, Frédéric

    2013-01-01

    Sociocultural phenomena, such as exogamy or phylopatry, can largely determine human sex-specific demography. In Central Africa, diverging patterns of sex-specific genetic variation have been observed between mobile hunter–gatherer Pygmies and sedentary agricultural non-Pygmies. However, their sex-specific demography remains largely unknown. Using population genetics and approximate Bayesian computation approaches, we inferred male and female effective population sizes, sex-specific migration, and admixture rates in 23 Central African Pygmy and non-Pygmy populations, genotyped for autosomal, X-linked, Y-linked, and mitochondrial markers. We found much larger effective population sizes and migration rates among non-Pygmy populations than among Pygmies, in agreement with the recent expansions and migrations of non-Pygmies and, conversely, the isolation and stationary demography of Pygmy groups. We found larger effective sizes and migration rates for males than for females for Pygmies, and vice versa for non-Pygmies. Thus, although most Pygmy populations have patrilocal customs, their sex-specific genetic patterns resemble those of matrilocal populations. In fact, our results are consistent with a lower prevalence of polygyny and patrilocality in Pygmies compared with non-Pygmies and a potential female transmission of reproductive success in Pygmies. Finally, Pygmy populations showed variable admixture levels with the non-Pygmies, with often much larger introgression from male than from female lineages. Social discrimination against Pygmies triggering complex movements of spouses in intermarriages can explain these male-biased admixture patterns in a patrilocal context. We show how gender-related sociocultural phenomena can determine highly variable sex-specific demography among