Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) are documented from various locations along Borneo's coast, including three sites in Sarawak, Malaysia, three sites in Sabah, Malaysia, three locations in Kalimantan, Indonesia and the limited coastal waters of the Sultanate of Brunei. Observations in all these areas indicate a similar external morphology, which seems to fall somewhere between that documented for Chinese populations known as S. chinensis, and that of Sousa sahulensis in Australia and Papua New Guinea. Sightings occur in shallow nearshore waters, often near estuaries and river mouths, and associations with Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) are frequently documented. Population estimates exist for only two locations and sightings information throughout Borneo indicates that frequency of occurrence is rare and group size is usually small. Threats from fisheries by-catch and coastal development are present in many locations and there are concerns over the ability of these small and fragmented populations to survive. The conservation and taxonomic status of humpback dolphins in Borneo remain unclear, and there are intriguing questions as to where these populations fit in our evolving understanding of the taxonomy of the genus.
The endangered proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) is a sexually highly dimorphic Old World primate endemic to the island of Borneo. Previous studies focused mainly on its ecology and behavior, but knowledge of its vocalizations is limited. The present study provides quantified information on vocal rate and on the vocal acoustics of the prominent calls of this species. We audio-recorded vocal behavior of 10 groups over two 4-month periods at the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary in Sabah, Borneo. We observed monkeys and recorded calls in evening and morning sessions at sleeping trees along riverbanks. We found no differences in the vocal rate between evening and morning observation sessions. Based on multiparametric analysis, we identified acoustic features of the four common call-types "shrieks," "honks," "roars," and "brays." "Chorus" events were also noted in which multiple callers produced a mix of vocalizations. The four call-types were distinguishable based on a combination of fundamental frequency variation, call duration, and degree of voicing. Three of the call-types can be considered as "loud calls" and are therefore deemed promising candidates for non-invasive, vocalization-based monitoring of proboscis monkeys for conservation purposes.
The Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus) is the largest among the four tapir species and is listed as an endangered species. Ultrasound examination and description of the external anatomy of the female reproductive system of three adult females were performed, whereas the internal anatomy was investigated in necropsied samples of four adult females and one subadult female. Descriptions of the male external genitalia were conducted on one adult male. Gross examination revealed the presence of a bicornuate uterus. The uterine cervix is firm and muscular with projections towards its lumen, which is also evident on ultrasonography. The elongated and relatively small ovaries, which have a smooth surface, could not be imaged on ultrasonography, due to their anatomical position. The testes are located inside a slightly pendulous scrotum that is sparsely covered with soft, short hairs. The penis has one dorsal and two lateral penile projections just proximal to the glans penis.
Orangutan survival is threatened by habitat loss and illegal killing. Most wild populations will disappear over the next few decades unless threats are abated. Saving orangutans is ultimately in the hands of the governments and people of Indonesia and Malaysia, which need to ensure that habitats of viable orangutan populations are protected from deforestation and well managed to ensure no hunting takes place. Companies working in orangutan habitat also have to play a much bigger role in habitat management. Although the major problems and the direct actions required to solve them-reducing forest loss and hunting-have been known for decades, orangutan populations continue to decline. Orangutan populations in Sumatra and Borneo have declined by between 2,280 and 5,250 orangutans annually over the past 25 years. As the total current population for the two species is some 60,000 animals in an area of about 90,000 km(2) , there is not much time left to make conservation efforts truly effective. Our review discusses what has and has not worked in conservation to guide future conservation efforts.
The genetic diversity of the endangered crocodile Tomistoma schlegelii was characterized using the protein coding ND 6-tRNA(glu)-cyt b and the cytochrome b-control region (cyt b-CR) markers. Concatenate data revealed six haplotypes with an overall haplotype diversity of 0.769 ± 0.039; nucleotide diversity was 0.00535 ± 0.00172. A nearest-neighbor analysis showed that all individuals clustered with four geographic regions (Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak, and East Kalimantan) and were genetically differentiated. With the exception of the individuals from haplotype H2, which occurred in both Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak, all other haplotypes were geographically distinct. The H4 lineage, which was found to be the most divergent, clustered exclusively in the basal clade in all phylogenetic trees, and the haplotype network was unconnected at the 95% reconnection limit, suggesting further investigation to establish its possible status as a distinct evolutionary significant unit or a cryptic species.
Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) based DNA biosensors have considered as excellent, fast and ultrasensitive sensing technique which relies on the fingerprinting ability to produce molecule specific distinct spectra. Unlike conventional fluorescence based strategies SERS provides narrow spectral bandwidths, fluorescence quenching and multiplexing ability, and fitting attribute with short length probe DNA sequences. Herein, we report a novel and PCR free SERS based DNA detection strategy involving dual platforms and short DNA probes for the detection of endangered species, Malayan box turtle (MBT) (Cuora amboinensis). In this biosensing feature, the detection is based on the covalent linking of the two platforms involving graphene oxide-gold nanoparticles (GO-AuNPs) functionalized with capture probe 1 and gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) modified with capture probe 2 and Raman dye (Cy3) via hybridization with the corresponding target sequences. Coupling of the two platforms generates locally enhanced electromagnetic field 'hot spot', formed at the junctions and interstitial crevices of the nanostructures and consequently provide significant amplification of the SERS signal. Therefore, employing the two SERS active substrates and short-length probe DNA sequences, we have managed to improve the sensitivity of the biosensors to achieve a lowest limit of detection (LOD) as low as 10 fM. Furthermore, the fabricated biosensor exhibited sensitivity even for single nucleotide base-mismatch in the target DNA as well as showed excellent performance to discriminate closely related six non-target DNA sequences. Although the developed SERS biosensor would be an attractive platform for the authentication of MBT from diverse samples including forensic and/or archaeological specimens, it could have universal application for detecting gene specific biomarkers for many diseases including cancer.
The number of endangered coral species is increasing over the past decades due to multiple stresses and threats. Euphylliidae corals are among the species heavily targeted for the marine aquarium trade due to their colourful appearance and aesthetic importance. However, their distribution in Peninsular Malaysia has not been thoroughly investigated. Present study aims to investigate the diversity and abundance patterns of euphylliid species at 36 reef sites in Marine Protected Areas of Tioman, Redang and Payar Islands. Video transect surveyed a total of 671 euphylliids individuals belonging to six species from three genera. The diversity and evenness indices of euphylliids were significantly higher (P
Molecular techniques involving the application of DNA based molecular markers for the conservation and management of endemic and endangered species have assumed significance as
genome sequencing projects have generated an extensive database which can be mined for informative genomic regions. Scientific approaches towards conservation involve several stages, which encompass determination of appropriate genomic regions for characterization, design and testing of specific molecular markers, screening of multiple populations and statistical treatment and
interpretation of data. Population data can be utilized to develop controlled breeding and relocation programs aimed at ensuring that genetic diversity within populations of endangered species is
sustained within the context of an overall conservation program. The information derived as a result of this approach can be applied to establish a scientific and legal framework for the conservation of endemic species. Species specific genomic markers can be applied to enforce the implementation of CITES within the guidelines of a national biodiversity conservation policy.
Geographically isolated populations of endemic orchids have evolved and adapted to an existence within specifi c ecological niches. These populations are highly susceptible to anthropogenic
infl uences on their microhabitats. The primary objective of conservation programs is the restoration of endangered populations to their ecologically sustainable levels, and the fi rst stage in the process of conservation involves estimation of molecular diversity at the level of the population. The approach described in this article involves the application of RAPD, Microsatellites and Chloroplast DNA markers for the characterization of the genetic structure of Paphiopedilum rothschildianum and Phalaenopsis gigantea, two endangered and endemic orchids of Sabah. This study has isolated a total of 96 microsatellite loci in P. rothschildianum and P. gigantea, 42 specifi c primer pairs have been designed for amplifi cation of microsatellite loci and are currently being applied to screen the breeding pools. The Chloroplast DNA regions amplifi ed by the primer pairs trnH-psbA and trnL-trnF exhibit distinct polymorphisms and can be used to establish phylogenetic
relationships. The ability of microsatellite loci to cross-amplify selected varieties of orchids has been determined. The molecular markers developed will be applied to estimate population diversity
levels and to formulate long-term management strategies for the conservation of endangered species of orchids of Sabah.
Six extant species of non-human great apes are currently recognized: Sumatran and Bornean orangutans, eastern and western gorillas, and chimpanzees and bonobos . However, large gaps remain in our knowledge of fine-scale variation in hominoid morphology, behavior, and genetics, and aspects of great ape taxonomy remain in flux. This is particularly true for orangutans (genus: Pongo), the only Asian great apes and phylogenetically our most distant relatives among extant hominids . Designation of Bornean and Sumatran orangutans, P. pygmaeus (Linnaeus 1760) and P. abelii (Lesson 1827), as distinct species occurred in 2001 [1, 2]. Here, we show that an isolated population from Batang Toru, at the southernmost range limit of extant Sumatran orangutans south of Lake Toba, is distinct from other northern Sumatran and Bornean populations. By comparing cranio-mandibular and dental characters of an orangutan killed in a human-animal conflict to those of 33 adult male orangutans of a similar developmental stage, we found consistent differences between the Batang Toru individual and other extant Ponginae. Our analyses of 37 orangutan genomes provided a second line of evidence. Model-based approaches revealed that the deepest split in the evolutionary history of extant orangutans occurred ∼3.38 mya between the Batang Toru population and those to the north of Lake Toba, whereas both currently recognized species separated much later, about 674 kya. Our combined analyses support a new classification of orangutans into three extant species. The new species, Pongo tapanuliensis, encompasses the Batang Toru population, of which fewer than 800 individuals survive. VIDEO ABSTRACT.
Unsustainable exploitation of natural resources is increasingly affecting the highly biodiverse tropics [1, 2]. Although rapid developments in remote sensing technology have permitted more precise estimates of land-cover change over large spatial scales [3-5], our knowledge about the effects of these changes on wildlife is much more sparse [6, 7]. Here we use field survey data, predictive density distribution modeling, and remote sensing to investigate the impact of resource use and land-use changes on the density distribution of Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus). Our models indicate that between 1999 and 2015, half of the orangutan population was affected by logging, deforestation, or industrialized plantations. Although land clearance caused the most dramatic rates of decline, it accounted for only a small proportion of the total loss. A much larger number of orangutans were lost in selectively logged and primary forests, where rates of decline were less precipitous, but where far more orangutans are found. This suggests that further drivers, independent of land-use change, contribute to orangutan loss. This finding is consistent with studies reporting hunting as a major cause in orangutan decline [8-10]. Our predictions of orangutan abundance loss across Borneo suggest that the population decreased by more than 100,000 individuals, corroborating recent estimates of decline . Practical solutions to prevent future orangutan decline can only be realized by addressing its complex causes in a holistic manner across political and societal sectors, such as in land-use planning, resource exploitation, infrastructure development, and education, and by increasing long-term sustainability . VIDEO ABSTRACT.
Tor tor is an important game and food fish of India with a distribution throughout Asia from the trans-Himalayan region to the Mekong River basin to Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia. A new cell line named TTCF was developed from the caudal fin of T. tor for the first time. The cell line was optimally maintained at 28°C in Leibovitz-15 (L-15) medium supplemented with 20% fetal bovine serum (FBS). The propagation of TTCF cells showed a high plating efficiency of 63.00%. The cytogenetic analysis revealed a diploid count of 100 chromosomes at passage 15, 30, 45 and 60 passages. The viability of the TTCF cell line was found to be 72% after 6 months of cryopreservation in liquid nitrogen (-196°C). The origin of the cell lines was confirmed by the amplification of 578- and 655-bp sequences of 16S rRNA and cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) genes of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) respectively. TTCF cells were successfully transfected with green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter plasmids. Further, immunocytochemistry studies confirm its fibroblastic morphology of cells. Genotoxicity assessment of H₂O₂ in TTCF cell line revealed the utility of TTCF cell line as in vitro model for aquatic toxicological studies.
The proboscis monkey, Nasalis larvatus, is an endemic species to the island of Borneo. It is listed in the IUCN Red List as Endangered with a decreasing population trend. Nevertheless, biological information, especially on the genetic diversity of the species, is still incomplete. Its fragmented distribution poses difficulties in gathering genetic samples along with its widespread distribution across Borneo. This study aims to determine the genetic variation and structure of N. larvatus with an emphasis on Malaysian Borneo populations to elucidate its gene flow. The genetic variation and structure of N. larvatus were examined using 50 sequences of the 1,434-bp cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene region of mitochondrial DNA. The COI sequences revealed low genetic variation among N. larvatus populations in Malaysian Borneo. This low genetic variability could be the result of inbreeding pressure that may have occurred due to the absence of population expansion in this species over the last 30,000 years. This is supported in our analysis of molecular variance, which showed that groups of N. larvatus are significantly differentiated possibly due to natural geographic barriers. This study provides baseline information on the genetic diversity among proboscis monkey populations in Borneo for the future genetic assessment of the species.
Malayan box turtle (Cuora amboinensis) has been a wildlife-protected vulnerable turtle species in Malaysia since 2005. However, because of its purported usage in traditional medicine, tonic foods and feeds, clandestine black market trade is rampant. Several polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays for the taxonomic detection and classification of turtle species have been proposed. These assays are based on long-length target amplicons which are assumed to break down under compromised states and, hence, might not be suitable for the forensic tracing and tracking of turtle trafficking. For the first time this paper develops a very short-amplicon-length PCR assay (120 bp) for the detection of Malayan box turtle meat in raw, processed and mixed matrices, and experimental evidence is produced that such an assay is not only more stable and reliable but also more sensitive than those previously published. We checked the assay specificity against 20 different species and no cross-species detection was observed. The possibility of any false-negative detection was eliminated by a universal endogenous control for eukaryotes. The assay detection limit was 0.0001 ng of box turtle DNA from pure meat and 0.01% turtle meat in binary and ternary admixtures and commercial meatballs. Superior target stability and sensitivity under extreme treatments of boiling, autoclaving and microwave cooking suggested that this newly developed assay would be suitable for any forensic and/or archaeological identification of Malayan box turtle species, even in severely degraded specimens. Further, in silico studies indicated that the assay has the potential to be used as a universal probe for the detection of nine Cuora species, all of which are critically endangered.
Agarwood is a resinous part of the non-timber Aquilaria tree, which is a highly valuable product for medicine and fragrance purposes. To protect the endangered Aquilaria species, mass plantation of Aquilaria trees has become a sustainable way in Asian countries to obtain the highly valuable agarwood. As only physiologically triggered Aquilaria tree can produce agarwood, effective induction methods are long sought in the agarwood industry. In this paper, we attempt to provide an overview for the past efforts toward the understanding of agarwood formation, the evolvement of induction methods and their further development prospects by integrating it with high-throughput omics approaches.
Pangolins, unique mammals with scales over most of their body, no teeth, poor vision, and an acute olfactory system, comprise the only placental order (Pholidota) without a whole-genome map. To investigate pangolin biology and evolution, we developed genome assemblies of the Malayan (Manis javanica) and Chinese (M. pentadactyla) pangolins. Strikingly, we found that interferon epsilon (IFNE), exclusively expressed in epithelial cells and important in skin and mucosal immunity, is pseudogenized in all African and Asian pangolin species that we examined, perhaps impacting resistance to infection. We propose that scale development was an innovation that provided protection against injuries or stress and reduced pangolin vulnerability to infection. Further evidence of specialized adaptations was evident from positively selected genes involving immunity-related pathways, inflammation, energy storage and metabolism, muscular and nervous systems, and scale/hair development. Olfactory receptor gene families are significantly expanded in pangolins, reflecting their well-developed olfaction system. This study provides insights into mammalian adaptation and functional diversification, new research tools and questions, and perhaps a new natural IFNE-deficient animal model for studying mammalian immunity.
Climatic differences across a taxon's range may be associated with specific bioenergetic demands and may result in genetics-based metabolic adaptation, particularly in aquatic ectothermic organisms that rely on heat exchange with the environment to regulate key physiological processes. Extending down the east coast of Australia, the Great Dividing Range (GDR) has a strong influence on climate and the evolutionary history of freshwater fish species. Despite the GDR acting as a strong contemporary barrier to fish movement, many species, and species with shared ancestries, are found on both sides of the GDR, indicative of historical dispersal events. We sequenced complete mitogenomes from the four extant species of the freshwater cod genus Maccullochella, two of which occur on the semi-arid, inland side of the GDR, and two on the mesic coastal side. We constructed a dated phylogeny and explored the relative influences of purifying and positive selection in the evolution of mitogenome divergence among species. Results supported mid- to late-Pleistocene divergence of Maccullochella across the GDR (220-710 thousand years ago), bringing forward previously reported dates. Against a background of pervasive purifying selection, we detected potentially functionally relevant fixed amino acid differences across the GDR. Although many amino acid differences between inland and coastal species may have become fixed under relaxed purifying selection in coastal environments rather than positive selection, there was evidence of episodic positive selection acting on specific codons in the Mary River coastal lineage, which has consistently experienced the warmest and least extreme climate in the genus.