Improving the reliability of molecular sexing of birds using a W-specific marker

American Coot (Fulica americana) Science Article 12


Molecular techniques for identifying sex of birds utilize length differences between CHD-Z and CHD-W introns, but in some cases these methods can lead to sexing errors. Here we show that an additional W-specific primer can be used in conjunction with a pre-existing sexing primer pair to dramatically improve the reliability of molecular sexing methods. We illustrate the approach with American coots (Fulica americana), a species with CHD-Z polymorphism that could not be accurately sexed using traditional methods. We developed a reverse primer GWR2 designed to sit within the intron of the W chromosome and amplify a distinctively small DNA fragment that serves as a W-specific marker.

DAIZABURO SHIZUKA and BRUCE E. LYON, Molecular Ecology Resources (2008) 8, 1249-1253

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