Molecular sex identification of Malaysian White-Nest Swiftlet (Aerodramus fuciphagus Thunberg, 1812).
ABSTRACT: The difficulty in differentiating the sex of monomorphic bird species has made molecular sexing an important tool in addressing this problem. This method uses noninvasively collected materials such as feathers and may be advantageous for sexing endangered as well as commercialized bird species. In this study, seven primer sets for sexing birds were screened in Aerodramus fuciphagus using a total of 13 feather samples that were randomly selected from the state of Perak, Malaysia. From the screening analysis, only one primer set (P8/WZ/W) successfully differentiated the sex of A. fuciphagus. PCR amplification produced a single 255-bp DNA fragment for males which was derived from CHD-Z (CHD gene region in the sex chromosome Z), while for the females it produced two fragments (144 and 255 bp). The 144-bp fragment was from CHD-W (CHD gene region in the sex chromosome W). Results from sequencing showed no variations in the base sequences of the CHD-W and CHD-Z amplified fragments within the same sexes, except for one male sample (A23) where at position 166, a base substitution occurred (G ? A). Phylogenetic analysis of CHD-W showed that four (Apodiformes; Gruiformes; Passeriformes; and Pelecaniformes) out of the five orders investigated had formed four clear clusters within their orders, including the studied order: Apodiformes. Whereas in CHD-Z, four (Accipitriformes; Columbiformes; Galliformes; and Passeriformes) out of five orders investigated formed four clear clusters within their orders, excluding the studied order. In addition, A. fuciphagus and Apus apus (both Apodiformes) showed less divergence in CHD-W than CHD-Z (0% c.f. 9%). The result suggests that in A. fuciphagus, CHD gene evolution occurred at a higher rate in males (CHD-Z) compared to females (CHD-W). This finding may be useful for further studies on sex ratio and breeding management of A. fuciphagus.
Project description:Many bird species are sexually monomorphic and cannot be sexed based on phenotypic traits. Rapid sex determination is often a necessary component of avian studies focusing on behavior, ecology, evolution, and conservation. While PCR-based methods are the most common technique for molecularly sexing birds in the laboratory, a simpler, faster, and cheaper method has emerged, which can be used in the laboratory, but importantly also in the field. Herein, we used loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) for rapid sex determination of blood samples from juvenile European blackcaps, Sylvia atricapilla, sampled in the wild. We designed LAMP primers unique to S. atricapilla based on the sex chromosome-specific gene, chromo-helicase-DNA-binding protein (CHD), optimized the primers for laboratory and field application, and then used them to test a subset of wild-caught juvenile blackcaps of unknown gender at the time of capture. Sex determination results were fast and accurate. The advantages of this technique are that it allows researchers to identify the sex of individual birds within hours of sampling and eliminates the need for direct access to a laboratory if implemented at a remote field site. This work adds to the increasing list of available LAMP primers for different bird species and is a new addition within the Passeriformes order.
Project description:Background and Aim:Many avian species are considered sexually monomorphic. In monomorphic bird species, especially in young birds, sex is difficult to identify based on an analysis of their external morphology. Accurate sex identification is essential for avian captive breeding and evolutionary studies. Methods with varying degrees of invasiveness such as vent sexing, laparoscopic surgery, steroid sexing, and chromosome inspection (karyotyping) are used for sex identification in monomorphic birds. This study aimed to assess the utility of a non-invasive molecular marker for gender identification in a variety of captive monomorphic birds, as a strategy for conservation. Materials and Methods:DNA was isolated from feather samples from 52 individuals representing 16 species of 11 families indigenous to both Indonesia and elsewhere. We amplified the chromodomain helicase DNA-binding (CHD) gene using polymerase chain reaction with MP, NP, and PF primers to amplify introns with lengths that differ between the CHD-W and the CHD-Z genes, allowing sex discrimination because the W chromosome is exclusively present in females. Results:Molecular bird sexing confirmed 33 females and 19 males with 100% accuracy. We used sequencing followed by alignment on one protected bird species (Probosciger aterrimus). Conclusion:Sex identification may be accomplished noninvasively in birds, because males only have Z sex chromosomes, whereas females have both Z and W chromosomes. Consequently, the presence of a W-unique DNA sequence identifies an individual as female. Sexing of birds is vital for scientific research, and to increase the success rate of conservation breeding programs.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Combination of CHD (chromo-helicase-DNA binding protein)-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with electrophoresis (PCR/electrophoresis) is the most common avian molecular sexing technique but it is lab-intensive and gel-required. Gender determination often fails when the difference in length between the PCR products of CHD-Z and CHD-W genes is too short to be resolved. RESULTS: Here, we are the first to introduce a PCR-melting curve analysis (PCR/MCA) to identify the gender of birds by genomic DNA, which is gel-free, quick, and inexpensive. Spilornis cheela hoya (S. c. hoya) and Pycnonotus sinensis (P. sinensis) were used to illustrate this novel molecular sexing technique. The difference in the length of CHD genes in S. c. hoya and P. sinensis is 13-, and 52-bp, respectively. Using Griffiths' P2/P8 primers, molecular sexing failed both in PCR/electrophoresis of S. c. hoya and in PCR/MCA of S. c. hoya and P. sinensis. In contrast, we redesigned sex-specific primers to yield 185- and 112-bp PCR products for the CHD-Z and CHD-W genes of S. c. hoya, respectively, using PCR/MCA. Using this specific primer set, at least 13 samples of S. c. hoya were examined simultaneously and the Tm peaks of CHD-Z and CHD-W PCR products were distinguished. CONCLUSION: In this study, we introduced a high-throughput avian molecular sexing technique and successfully applied it to two species. This new method holds a great potential for use in high throughput sexing of other avian species, as well.
Project description:The Japanese murrelet (Synthliboramphus wumizusume) is an endangered small seabird species in Japan. Molecular sexing using PCR targeting of the gene encoding chromodomain helicase DNA-binding protein 1(CHD1) has been used for sex identification. Specifically, PCR using any of three commonly used primer sets (CHD1F/1R, 2550F/2718R and P2/P8) has permitted sexing in many bird species. CHD1F/1R and 2550F/2718R permitted molecular sexing in Japanese murrelet; however, P2/P8 did not permit. To generate a primer pair that permits efficient molecular sexing in this species, a new primer set, CHD1F1/1R1, was prepared to permit amplification of smaller products from degraded DNA samples. The electrophoretic patterns of PCR products amplified with the new primer set were easily classified as female or male. Additionally, the PCR product indicated the presence of a polymorphism in the fragment from chromosome W. The PCR fragments of long-type (WL) and short-type (WS) polymorphisms were observed only in females. When the distribution of the CHD1 gene on chromosome W of 61 female Japanese murrelet on Biroujima Island in Miyazaki Prefecture, WL and WS were observed in 90.2% and 9.8%. The DNA polymorphism is derived from the number of copies of a 32-bp-repeat unit, with WL and WS corresponding to two and one 32-bp-repeats, respectively.
Project description:Few regional or continent-wide assessments of bird use for traditional medicine have been attempted anywhere in the world. Africa has the highest known diversity of bird species used for this purpose. This study assesses the vulnerability of 354 bird species used for traditional medicine in 25 African countries, from 205 genera, 70 families, and 25 orders. The orders most represented were Passeriformes (107 species), Falconiformes (45 species), and Coraciiformes (24 species), and the families Accipitridae (37 species), Ardeidae (15 species), and Bucerotidae (12 species). The Barn owl (Tyto alba) was the most widely sold species (seven countries). The similarity of avifaunal orders traded is high (analogous to "morphospecies", and using Sørensen's index), which suggests opportunities for a common understanding of cultural factors driving demand. The highest similarity was between bird orders sold in markets of Benin vs. Burkina Faso (90%), but even bird orders sold in two geographically separated countries (Benin vs. South Africa and Nigeria vs. South Africa) were 87% and 81% similar, respectively. Rabinowitz's "7 forms of rarity" model, used to group species according to commonness or rarity, indicated that 24% of traded bird species are very common, locally abundant in several habitats, and occur over a large geographical area, but 10% are rare, occur in low numbers in specific habitats, and over a small geographical area. The order with the highest proportion of rare species was the Musophagiformes. An analysis of species mass (as a proxy for size) indicated that large and/or conspicuous species tend to be targeted by harvesters for the traditional medicine trade. Furthermore, based on cluster analyses for species groups of similar risk, vultures, hornbills, and other large avifauna, such as bustards, are most threatened by selective harvesting and should be prioritised for conservation action.
Project description:Avian chlamydiosis is a zoonotic disease occurring in humans, poultry, and exotic birds. It has been suggested that some wild bird species play an important role as reservoirs for Chlamydia, especially Chlamydia psittaci. Whereas C. psittaci is the predominant chlamydial agent in birds, in the present study we have determined the prevalence of different species of Chlamydia among selected wild bird species in Poland using a rapid and sensitive real-time PCR method. In total, 369 free-living birds from 35 bird species and 15 orders were examined. Samples from 27 birds (7.3%) were positive for chlamydial DNA in the PCR; 22 positive samples (81.5%) belonged to C. psittaci, three to Chlamydia trachomatis (11.1%), and two (7.4%) classified only to the genus Chlamydia. Most of C. psittaci-positive samples belonged to five orders: Anseriformes, Columbiformes, Gruiformes, Phasianiformes, and Passeriformes. All C. trachomatis samples were obtained from Eurasian coots (Gruiformes). Two Chlamydia-positive samples not classified to any Chlamydia species were obtained from a common wood pigeon (Columbiformes) and a common buzzard (Accipitriformes). Detection of C. psittaci and C. trachomatis in free-living bird populations force to think on significance of birds as reservoir of varied Chlamydia species and their epidemiological importance.
Project description:The Collared Crow (<i>Corvus pectoralis</i>), in the order Passeriformes, it widely distributed in large areas encompassing China and northern Vietnam. It is a vulnerable bird that is of international concern. In this study, we first sequenced and described the complete mitochondrial genome and phylogeny of <i>C. pectoralis</i>. The results showed that the whole genome of <i>C. pectoralis</i> was 16,857?bp long and contains 13 PCGs, 2 ribosomal RNA genes, 23 transfer RNA genes, and 1 loop region. The overall base composition of the mitochondrial DNA was 31.13% for A, 29.52% for C, 24.46% for T, and 14.89% for G, with a GC content of 44.41%. The phylogenetic tree showed that <i>C. pectoralis</i> was clustered with <i>C. brachyrhynchos</i> and then together with other two crows in family Passeriformes. This information will be useful in the current understanding of the phylogeny and evolution of Passeriformes.
Project description:Gut bacterial communities have been shown to be influenced by diet, host phylogeny and anatomy, but most of these studies have been done in captive animals. Here we compare the bacterial communities in the digestive tract of wild birds. We characterized the gizzard and intestinal microbiota among 8 wild Neotropical bird species, granivorous or frugivorous species of the orders Columbiformes and Passeriformes. We sequenced the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene in 94 collected samples from 32 wild birds from 5 localities, and compared bacterial communities by foraging guild, organ, locality and bird taxonomy. 16S rRNA gene-based sequencing data were examined using QIIME with linear discriminant analysis effect size (LEfSe) and metabolic pathways were predicted using PICRUSt algorism. We identified 8 bacterial phyla, dominated by Firmicutes, Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria. Beta diversity analyses indicated significant separation of gut communities by bird orders (Columbiformes vs. Passerifomes) and between bird species (p<0.01). In lower intestine, PICRUSt shows a predominance of carbohydrate metabolism in granivorous birds and xenobiotics biodegradation pathways in frugivorous birds. Gizzard microbiota was significantly richer in granivorous, in relation to frugivorous birds (Chao 1; non-parametric t-test, p<0.05), suggesting a microbial gizzard function, beyond grinding food. The results suggest that the most important factor separating the bacterial community structure was bird taxonomy, followed by foraging guild. However, variation between localities is also likely to be important, but this could not been assessed with our study design.
Project description:The diversity of permanent ectoparasites is likely underestimated due to the difficulty of collecting samples. Lice (Insecta: Phthiraptera) are permanent ectoparasites of birds and mammals; there are approximately 5,000 species described and many more undescribed, particularly in the Neotropics. We document the louse genera collected from birds sampled in Peru (2006-2007) and Colombia (2009-2016), from 22 localities across a variety of ecosystems, ranging from lowland tropical forest and Llanos to high elevation cloud forest. We identified 35 louse genera from a total of 210 bird species belonging to 37 avian families and 13 orders. These genera belong to two suborders and three families of lice: Amblycera, families Menoponidae (present on 131 bird species) and Ricinidae (39 bird species); and Ischnocera, family Philopteridae (119 bird species). We compared our bird-louse associations with data in Price et al. (2003) and recently published Neotropical studies. The majority of bird-louse associations (51.9%) were new, with most of these coming from Passeriformes, the most diverse avian order, with the most poorly known louse fauna. Finally, we found geographical variation in louse infestation and prevalence rates. With this study, we report the first comprehensive documentation of bird-louse associations for Colombia and substantially increase the known associations documented for Peru.
Project description:Background:The sex of an individual organism plays such an important role in its life cycle that researchers must know a bird's sex to interpret key aspects of its biology. The sexes of dimorphic species can be easily distinguished, but sexing monomorphic bird species often requires expensive and time-consuming molecular methods. The Little Stint (Calidris minuta) is a numerous species, monomorphic in plumage but showing a small degree of reversed sexual size dimorphism. Females are larger than males but the ranges of their measurements overlap, making Little Stints difficult to sex in the field. Our aim was to develop reliable sexing criteria for Little Stints in different stages of primary moult during their stay on the non-breeding grounds in South Africa using DNA-sexed individuals and discriminant function analysis. Methods:We caught 348 adult Little Stints in 2008-2016 on their non-breeding grounds at Barberspan Bird Sanctuary. To molecularly identify the birds' sex we used P2/P8 primers and DNA isolated from blood samples collected in the field. We used Storer's dimorphism index to assess the degree of sexual size dimorphism. Then we divided our sample into two groups: before or during and after primary moult. For each group we developed two functions: one using wing length only and the other a combination of morphometric features including wing, tarsus and total head length. Then we used a stepwise procedure to check which combination of measurements best discriminated sexes. To validate our result we used a jack-knife cross-validation procedure and Cohen-kappa statistics. Results:All the morphometric features we measured were bigger in DNA-sexed females than in males. Birds with fresh primaries had on average 2.3 mm longer wings than those with worn primaries. A discriminant function using wing length (D1) correctly sexed 78.8% of individuals before moult, and a stepwise analysis showed that a combination of wing length and tarsus (D2) correctly identified the sex of 82.7% of these birds. For birds with freshly moulted primaries a function using wing length (D3) correctly classified 83.4% of the individuals, and a stepwise analysis revealed that wing and total head length (D4) classified 84.7%. Discussion:Sexual size differences in Little Stints might be linked to their phylogenetics and breeding biology. Females are bigger, which increases their fecundity; males are smaller, which increases their manoeuverability during display flights and hence their mating success. Little Stints show an extreme lack of breeding site fidelity so we did not expect a geographical cline in their biometrics. Sexing criteria available for Little Stints in the literature were developed using museum specimens, which often shrink, leading to misclassification of live birds. The sexing criteria we developed can be used for studies on Little Stints at their non-breeding grounds and on past data, but should be applied cautiously because of the overlapping ranges.