Sexing the Sciuridae: a simple and accurate set of molecular methods to determine sex in tree squirrels, ground squirrels and marmots


Jamieson Gorrell, Fax: +1 780 492 9234; E-mail:


We determined the sequence of the male-specific minor histocompatibility complex antigen (Smcy) from the Y chromosome of seven squirrel species (Sciuridae, Rodentia). Based on conserved regions inside the Smcy intron sequence, we designed PCR primers for sex determination in these species that can be co-amplified with nuclear loci as controls. PCR co-amplification yields two products for males and one for females that are easily visualized as bands by agarose gel electrophoresis. Our method provides simple and reliable sex determination across a wide range of squirrel species.