Identification of sex in Cetaceans by multiplexing with three ZFX and ZFY specific primers

Authors

  • M. BERUBE,

    Corresponding author
    1. *Department of Population Biology, Zoological Institute, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, Copenhagen Ø, DK-2100, Denmark
    2. †Department of Natural Resource Sciences, Macdonald Campus, McGill University, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, Canada H9X 3V9
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  • P. PALSBØLL

    1. *Department of Population Biology, Zoological Institute, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, Copenhagen Ø, DK-2100, Denmark
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Tel.: + 45 35321311. Fax: + 45 35321300. E-mail: mberube@newt.bio.uci.edu

Abstract

We sequenced 540 nucleotides of the last exon in the ZFY/ZFX gene in two males and two females for eight cetacean species; four odontocetes (toothed whales) and four mysticetes (baleen whales). Based upon the obtained nucleotide sequences, we designed two sets of oligonucleotide primers for specific amplification of the ZFX and the ZFY sequence in odontocetes and mysticetes, respectively. Each primer set consisted of three oligonucleotides; one forward-orientated primer, which anneals to the ZFY as well as the ZFX sequence, and two reverse-orientated primers that anneal to either the ZFX or the ZFY sequence. The resulting two amplification products (specific for the ZFY and ZFX sequences) can be distinguished by gel-electrophoresis through 2% NuSieve™. The accuracy of the technique was tested by determination of gender in 214 individuals of known sex. Finally we applied the technique to determine the sex of 3570 cetacean specimens; 2284 humpback whales, 315 fin whales, 37 blue whales, 7 minke whales, as well as 592 belugas, 335 narwhals and 25 harbour porpoises.

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