Rapid and low-cost molecular sexing of a corvid songbird using a single protocol with two universal primer sets

Doi: https://doi.org/10.13157/arla.68.2.2021.sc1

Authors: Jimena LOIS-MILEVICICH, Raúl O. GÓMEZ, Cynthia A. URSINO, Nicolás A. LOIS and Alicia DE LA COLINA

E-mail: jime.loism@bg.fcen.uba.ar

Published: Volume 68.2, July 2021. Pages 423-432.

Language: English

Keywords: 2550F/2718R, ChD1 gene, Corvidae, P2/P8 and Passeriformes

Summary:

The absence of sex dimorphism in many bird species complicates sex determination by direct observation, hindering sex-specific studies. Standard protocols for molecular sexing include polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of intron regions of the Chromodomain-helicase DNAbinding protein 1 (CHD1) gene. while several methods have been studied, their usefulness for songbirds (Passeriformes) has not been consistent and has largely depended on target species and on timeconsuming primer-set specific optimisation of available protocols. we tested a molecular sexing protocol with two universal primer sets (P2/P8 and 2550F/2718R) in a corvid songbird: the Plush-crested Jay Cyanocorax chrysops. The protocol was rapid and inexpensive as well as highly effective. Using 2550F/2718R, females were revealed by two bands separated for some 200 base pairs (bp) that resolved easily on 0.8% agarose gel. Conversely, P2/P8 female amplicons differed in roughly 30 bp and a more expensive 3% agarose gel was necessary to reveal them. Our results are contextualised with an up-to-date literature survey of molecular sexing in other corvids. The primer set 2550F/2718R is found to be effective, providing a reliable and low-cost method for sexing jays and other corvids.

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