A new marker based on the avian spindlin gene that is able to sex most birds, including species problematic to sex with CHD markers

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Deborah A. Dawson, Natalie dos Remedios, Gavin J. Horsburgh
Zoo Biology
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We have developed a new marker (Z43B) that can be successfully used to identify the sex of most birds (69%), including species difficult or impossible to sex with other markers. We utilized the zebra finch Taeniopygia guttata EST microsatellite sequence (CK309496) which displays sequence homology to the 5′ untranslated region (UTR) of the avian spindlin gene. This gene is known to be present on the Z and W chromosomes. To maximize cross-species utility, the primer set was designed from a consensus sequence created from homologs of CK309496 that were isolated from multiple distantly related species. Both the forward and reverse primer sequences were 100% identical to 14 avian species, including the Z chromosome of eight species and the chicken Gallus gallus W chromosome, as well as the saltwater crocodile Crocodylus porosus. The Z43B primer set was assessed by genotyping individuals of known sex belonging to 61 non-ratite species and a single ratite. The Z and W amplicons differed in size making it possible to distinguish between males (ZZ) and females (ZW) for the majority (69%) of non-ratite species tested, comprising 10 orders of birds. We predict that this marker will be useful for obtaining sex-typing data for ca 6,869 species of birds (69% of non-ratites but not galliforms). A wide range of species could be sex-typed including passerines, shorebirds, eagles, falcons, bee-eaters, cranes, shags, parrots, penguins, ducks, and a ratite species, the brown kiwi, Apteryx australis. Those species sexed include species impossible or problematic to sex-type with other markers (magpie, albatross, petrel, eagle, falcon, crane, and penguin species). Zoo Biol. 35:533–545, 2016. © 2016 The Authors. Zoo Biology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


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