• Coendou prehensilis;
  • sex determining zinc finger region;
  • ZFX/ZFY;
  • gender identification;
  • molecular sexing


Prehensile-tailed porcupines (Coendou prehensilis), like other rodents, lack external sexual traits, making it difficult to non-invasively determine their gender. By exploiting genetic differences between the X and the Y chromosome, we developed a simple genetic test to determine the gender of Coendous from shed quills. We Sanger sequenced a short portion (195 bp) of the zinc finger protein gene of known male (XY) Coendous to identify positions that are polymorphic between the X and Y chromosomes at this locus. By directly sequencing this fragment, we were able to correctly determine (confirmed via anatomical sexing) the gender of male and female Coendous by the presences or absence of polymorphisms in the resulting chromatograms. This assay is simple, quick and is applicable to other porcupine species. Zoo Biol. 32:463–466, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals Inc.