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A simple and reliable molecular method for sex identification of the Brown-eared pheasant (Crossoptilon mantchuricum) from non-invasively collected samples

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For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Netherlands Journal of Zoology (Vol 18-52).

For sex identification of the Brown-eared pheasant (Crossoptilon mantchuricum), one of the critically endangered endemic birds in China, the morphological method of checking the astragalus, an extra tiny bone on the ankle only of male ones is inconvenient and even impossible for wild populations. In this paper, we investigated a simple reliable non-invasive method according to the difference of the sizes of sex-linked genes CHD1-W and CHD1-Z (Griffiths et al., 1996; Ellegren, 1996) to identify the gender of individuals in two captive populations of the Brown-eared pheasant. We extracted DNA from blood and feather samples and amplified the genes by PCR using two pairs of primers P2/P8 (Griffiths et al., 1998) and 2550F/2718R (Fridolfsson et al., 1999). The products amplified with P2/P8 failed to show the sex due to the low resolution of the agarose gel. PCR using the 2550F/2718R primer set amplified two products of different sizes for all known females and a single product for all known males when scored on the 2.0% agarose gel, which indicated that this primer set enabled sex identification. Both blood and feather samples gave identical results although the products amplified from the feather samples were fewer than the blood samples which were taken invasively and acted as control. This is the first time molecular methods was used for sex identifications of the Brown-eared pheasant and will assist their management by means of artificial propagation and allow the study of the ecology and conservation genetics of the Brown-eared pheasant.

Affiliations: 1: School of Biology Science and Technology, Jinzhong University, Yuci 030600, China; 2: School of Life Science, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China; 3: School of Environmental Science and Resources, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030006, China; 4: Key Laboratory of Chemical Biology and Molecular Engineering of the Ministry of Education, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030006, China; 5: Institute of Loess Plateau, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030006, China; 6: Institute of Loess Plateau, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030006, China;, Email:


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