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Wednesday, April 22 • 10:45am - 11:05am
Chromosomal sex determination of barn and screech owls from the Western North Carolina Nature Center

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Owls generally exhibit little sexual dimorphism: therefore, sex determination often requires analysis beyond morphological differences. The staff of the Western North Carolina Nature Center in Asheville, NC is currently debating the sexes of two barn owls, Tyto alba, and one screech owl, Megascops asio, after discovering eggs in an enclosure thought to have only contained males.  In this study, total genomic DNA was extracted from feathers sampled from each of these birds and amplified with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using P2 and P8 primers to amplify the CHD1 gene, which is used to determine sex. The DNA product was concentrated and run through 2.5% agarose gel electrophoresis, sequenced, and then examined to determine chromosomal sex. Individuals corresponding to single (ZZ) bands were confirmed to be male, while those exhibiting double (ZW) bands were determined to be female.  Sex determination is an important component in the conservation and development of breeding programs for many bird species. Efficient procedures for examining chromosomal DNA in monomorphic species, such as these owls, could therefore be vital to further studies.

Wednesday April 22, 2015 10:45am - 11:05am PDT
014 Zeis Hall

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