Advances in sex determination in bats and its utility in wind-wildlife studies


Correspondence: Jennifer Korstian, Fax: +1-817-257-6177; E-mail:


We developed a simple and reliable genetic method to determine sex in bats from the Vespertilionidae and Molossidae families. Polymerase chain reaction was used to amplify a portion of the introns within the zinc-finger-X (Zfx) and zinc-finger-Y (Zfy) genes. We designed primers to produce size variation between the Zfx and Zfy products that could be visualized using gel electrophoresis. Using an example from our wind-wildlife research, we show how sex data generated using this method are superior to sex data based on external morphology. Our method allows for the generation of sex data across a wide range of bats that can be used to address key questions in wildlife forensics, behavioural ecology, conservation and evolutionary biology.