A DNA test to sex most birds

Griffiths, R., Double, M.C., Orr, K. and Dawson, R.J.G. (1998) A DNA test to sex most birds. Molecular Ecology, 7(8), pp. 1071-1075. (doi: 10.1046/j.1365-294x.1998.00389.x)

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Birds are difficult to sex. Nestlings rarely show sex-linked morphology and we estimate that adult females appear identical to males in over 50% of the world's bird species. This problem can hinder both evolutionary studies and human-assisted breeding of birds. DNA-based sex identification provides a solution. We describe a test based on two conserved CHD (chromo-helicase-DNA-binding) genes that are located on the avian sex chromosomes of all birds, with the possible exception of the ratites (ostriches, etc.; Struthioniformes). The CHD-W gene is located on the W chromosome; therefore it is unique to females. The other gene, CHD-Z, is found on the Z chromosome and therefore occurs in both sexes (female, ZW; male, ZZ). The test employs PCR with a single set of primers. It amplifies homologous sections of both genes and incorporates introns whose lengths usually differ. When examined on a gel there is a single CHD-Z band in males but females have a second, distinctive CHD-W band.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Griffiths, Mrs Kate and Griffiths, Dr Richard
Authors: Griffiths, R., Double, M.C., Orr, K., and Dawson, R.J.G.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Life Sciences
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Molecular Ecology
ISSN (Online):1365-294X
Published Online:28 February 2002

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