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      A DNA test to sex most birds

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      Molecular Ecology

      Wiley

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          Abstract

          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.

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          Most cited references 6

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          A mammalian DNA-binding protein that contains a chromodomain and an SNF2/SWI2-like helicase domain.

          Two overlapping cDNAs that encode a 197-kDa sequence-selective DNA-binding protein were isolated from libraries derived from mouse lymphoid cell mRNA. In addition to a DNA-binding domain, the protein contains both a chromodomain, which occurs in proteins that are implicated in chromatin compaction, and an SNF2/SWI2-like helicase domain, which occurs in proteins that are believed to activate transcription by counteracting the repressive effects of chromatin structure. A Southern blot analysis indicated that this protein, which we have named CHD-1, for chromodomain-helicase-DNA-binding protein, is present in most, if not all, mammalian species. A Northern blot analysis revealed multiple CHD mRNA components that differed both qualitatively and quantitatively among various cell types. The various mRNAs, which are probably produced by alternative RNA processing, could conceivably encode tissue-specific and developmental stage-specific isoforms of the protein. Based on its interesting combination of features, we suspect that CHD-1 plays an important role in gene regulation.
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            Sexing birds using random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers

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              Heterochromatic nature of W chromosome in birds.

               K Stefos,  J Arrighi (1971)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                MOECEO
                Molecular Ecology
                Mol Ecol
                Wiley
                0962-1083
                1365-294X
                August 1998
                August 1998
                : 7
                : 8
                : 1071-1075
                Article
                10.1046/j.1365-294x.1998.00389.x
                9711866
                © 1998

                http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/tdm_license_1.1

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