Fast and non-invasive PCR sexing of primates: apes, Old World monkeys, New World monkeys and Strepsirrhines
Palle Villesen* 1 and Tina Fredsted* 2
1Bioinformatics Research Center (BiRC), University of Aarhus, H. Guldbergsgade 10, building 1090, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
of Ecology and Genetics, Institute of Biological Sciences, University
of Aarhus, Ny Munkegade, building 1540, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
BMC Ecology 2006,
6:8doi:10.1186/1472-6785-6-8. [Open Access]
One of the key tools for determining the social structure of wild
and endangered primates is the ability to sex DNA from small amounts of
non-invasive samples that are likely to include highly degraded DNA.
Traditional markers for molecular sex determination of primates are
developed on the basis of the human sequence and are often
non-functional in distantly related primate species. Hence, it is
highly desirable to develop markers that simultaneously detect Y- and
X-chromosome specific sequences and also work across many species.
A novel method for sex identification in primates is described using
a triple primer PCR reaction and agarose gel electrophoresis of the
sex-chromosomal isoforms of the ubiquitously transcribed
tetratricopeptide repeat protein gene (UTX/UTY). By comparing genomic data from several mammals we identified the UTX/UTY locus
as the best candidate for a universal primate sexing marker. Using data
from several species we identified a XY-conserved region, a Y conserved
region and an X conserved region. This enabled the design of a triple
primer PCR setup that amplifies X and Y products of different length in
a single PCR reaction.
This simple PCR amplification of X and Y fragments is useful for
sexing DNA samples from all species of primates. Furthermore, since the
amplified fragments are very short the method can be applied to
fragmented DNA extracted from non-invasive samples.