Improved Molecular Assay for Sex Identification of the Endangered Crested Ibis (Nipponia nippon) Based on the CHD1 Gene and a Sex-linked Microsatellite Locus uri icon

abstract

  • Sex identification of monomorphic birds, especially endangered avian species, is essential for ecological study and biodiversity conservation. In this study, two popular primer sets of 2550F/2718R and P2/P8, which were designed to amplify different fragments of chromodomain-helicase-DNA binding protein 1 (CHD1) genes mapped on both Z and W chromosomes in birds, were used to identify for the first time the sex of individuals of the endangered species crested ibis (Nipponia nippon) in a large number of samples. An improved primer set of 2467F/2530R was re-designed to be specific to crested ibis following their conserved sequences derived from the 2550F/2718R primers. PCR products of the new primers were conveniently visualized with two bands of 552 base pairs (bp) and 358 bp for females, but a single band of 552 bp for males in routine 1.8% agarose gel. Similarly, the P2/P8 primer set amplified two fragments of 398 bp and 381 bp from females but one fragment of 398 bp from males; however, a high resolution involving 10% polyacrylamide gel had to be employed to resolve the 17 bp insertions/deletions (in/dels) present between the two amplicons in females. In addition, a microsatellite locus NnNF05 was validated to be sex-linked and shown to be effective in the sexing of crested ibis, supporting its utility in non-invasive sampling. This study provides a rapid, convenient, and reliable molecular assay for improving sex identification in the monomorphic and monogamous crested ibis, and thus facilitates the selection of breeding pairs in captive programs and reintroduction initiatives.

publication date

  • 2013
  • 2013