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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2020, February 17) Embryology Elephant Development. Retrieved from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Talk:Elephant_Development
Growth and development of the ovary and small follicle pool from mid fetal life to pre-puberty in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana)
BMC Vet Res. 2012 Jul 23;8:119. doi: 10.1186/1746-6148-8-119.
Stansfield FJ1, Nöthling JO, Allen WR.
BACKGROUND: Follicle numbers and developing ovarian morphology, particularly with reference to the presence of interstitial tissue, are intimately linked within the ovary of the African elephant during the period spanning mid-gestation to puberty. These have not been previously quantified in any studies. The collection of 7 sets of elephant fetal ovaries between 11.2 and 20.2 months of gestation, and 29 pairs of prepubertal calf ovaries between 2 months and 9 years of age during routine management off-takes of complete family groups in private conservancies in Zimbabwe provided an opportunity for a detailed study of this period. RESULTS: The changing morphology of the ovary is described as the presumptive cortex and medulla components of the fetal ovary settled into their adult form. Interstitial tissue dominated the ovary in late fetal life and these cells stained strongly for 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase. This staining continued postnatally through to 4.5 years of age suggesting continued secretion of progestagens by the ovary during this period. The considerable growth of antral follicles peaked at 28% of ovarian volume at around 16.7 months of fetal age. The numbers of small follicles (primordial, early primary and true primary), counted in the cortex using stereological protocols, revealed fewer small follicles in the ovaries of animals aged 0 to 4.5 years of age than during either late fetal life or prepubertal life. CONCLUSIONS: The small follicle populations of the late-fetal and prepubertal ovaries of the African elephant were described along with the changing morphology of these organs. The changes noted represent a series of events that have been recorded only in the elephant and the giraffe species to date. The expansion of the interstitial tissue of the fetal ovary and its continued presence in early post natal life may well contribute to the control of follicle development in these early years. Further research is required to determine the reasons behind the variation of numbers of small follicles in the ovaries of prepubertal calves.
The evolution and phylogeography of the African elephant inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequence and nuclear micro satellite markers
Proc Biol Sci. 2002 Oct 7;269(1504):1993-2006.
Eggert LS1, Rasner CA, Woodruff DS.
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.