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

Akbar Dastjerdi1, Christelle Robert2 and Mick Watson3*

Author Affiliations

1 Virology Department, Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Weybridge, KT15 3NB Addlestone, Surrey, UK

2 The Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, EH25 9RG Easter Bush, UK

3 Edinburgh Genomics, University of Edinburgh, EH25 9RG Easter Bush, UK

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GigaScience 2014, 3:12  doi:10.1186/2047-217X-3-12

Published: 10 July 2014



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.


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.


The data presented here are an important addition to the available genetic and genomic information on Asian and African elephants.

Elephant; Genome; Sequencing; Variation