Assessment of CHD-specific primers for gender determination in red-billed oxpeckers (buphagus erythrorhynchus)

Desire Dalton, Antoinette Kotze, Mark Howitt

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Red-billed Oxpeckers (Buphagus erythrorhynchus) are morphologically similar and do not display distinctive phenotypic difference between males and females. The development of DNA-based gender determination techniques constituted a breakthrough in reliable sex determination in birds. Two DNA-based methods of gender determination were evaluated to determine the preferred method for the Red-billed Oxpeckers. DNA-based gender determination of the Red-billed Oxpeckers was conducted so that specific sexes could be relocated to new release sites within South Africa. The following two primer sets were used; primer set 2550F/2718R (Fridolfsson and Ellegren 1999) and P2/P8 (Griffiths et al. 1998). When comparing the results of the two primer sets, it was determined that 17% (n=25) of individuals that were identified as having one sex by the 2550F/2718R primer set changed their DNA gender determination when the P2/P8 primer set was used. Based on molecular evidence and the pathology results for three recorded mortalities at the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, it was determined that the P2/P8 primer set would be preferable to the 2550F/2718R primer set for DNA gender determination of Red-billed Oxpeckers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-257
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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