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Detection of Cytonuclear Genomic Dissociation in the North American Captive African Elephant Collection

Lei, Runhua, Brenneman, Rick A., Schmitt, Dennis L., Louis, Edward E. Jr.
Journal of heredity 2009 v.100 no.6 pp. 675-680
Loxodonta africana, breeding, genes, haplotypes, microsatellite repeats, mitochondrial DNA, nuclear genome, zoos, Africa
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.