DNA Profiling Cambodian Elephants For Conservation

DNA SOLUTIONS is proud to be involved with the conservation of elephants of Cambodia in conjunction with Fauna & Flora International.DNA profiling Cambodian Elephants for conservation

The project has two stages:

Research Phase
Profiling and Population Analysis
Research Phase

In the research phase of the project we hope to develop a fast and efficient method of fingerprinting elephants from their dung collected from the jungle in Cambodia. The profiling system to be developed will be based on some known regions of DNA used for fingerprinting African Elephants.

The African Elephants were fingerprinted by DNA profling each region of DNA separately, and processing 9 regions of DNA, means 9 separate DNA reactions per animal. Our plan is to ‘multiplex’ these regions, so that we can profile 3 or regions of DNA in a single reaction. In a way that has been done with humans to allow DNA labs to more easiliy, quickly and less expensively profile people.

The multiplexing will be achieved by using largely trial and error. By mixing the raw profiling material together and trying various conditions, stabilizers and techniques. Additionally we will likely redesign the DNA primers (which are the DNA ‘keys’ designed to revel to use the DNA profile in each region). The redesign will allow the reactions to work in together in a single reaction tube.

We will have a small team of persons dedicated to this task over, including technical staff from Fauna-Flora International.

Profiling and Population Analysis

Once we are satisfied with the technique and methods for profiling we will then begin to work on the samples recieved from Cambodia.

A sample of dung is purified and DNA isolated. Then our DNA profiling system will be implimented upon each sample and a profile will be obtained. By looking at the number of unique profiles from the samples, and using statistical calcuations we plan to be able to find the population of Cambodian Elephants left in the wild.

This information will be used to help in the conservation of the few remaining populations of Elephants in Cambodia and the scientific techniques developed will be further used to help profile other populations of Elephants in other countries in Asia.

Further information can be obtained by contacting DNA SOLUTIONS or using our online enquiry form;

TEL: 1800-000-362
TEL: +61 3 9800 1550

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Mitochondrial DNA

Cells that make up a human being contain two forms of DNA.Mitochondrial DNA

1. Nuclear DNA.
2. Mitochondrial DNA.

Nuclear DNA is found in the nucleus and contains all the genes that make up who we are. Nuclear DNA is the type of DNA that police use to profile a person, and what DNA labs use to perform a paternity test.

Mitochondrial DNA is a tiny circle of DNA that is found inside small cell packets called Mitochondria. Mitochondria known as the “power house of the cell” are used to create energy for the cells.

Sperm cells have mitochondria in the tail of the sperm, and not in the head of the sperm. When the sperm fertilises a egg only the sperm head enters the egg, and the tail is dropped off. Thus, children will only receive mitochondrial DNA from their mother. Testing the sequence of mitochondrial DNA in siblings will show if they are biologically related via the maternal line.

Mitochondrial Inheritance

imageSince in a fertilised egg only the mother’s mitochondrial DNA is present we can find the exact same mitochondrial DNA in all children to the same mother.

Daughters will continue to pass the same mitochondrial DNA down to their children, while men will never pass on their mitochondrial DNA.

Thus mitochondrial DNA testing is a very powerful and accurate way to test for biological siblings. Mitochondrial testing is currently used by military DNA laboratories to identify skeletons discovered in old war zones, by tracing the mitochondrial DNA back to living relatives.

The US military is still using mitochondria DNA testing to identify bone fragments from world war II, Vietnam and Korean wars, and many other conflicts.

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