A polymerase chain reaction–based method was developed for gender determination in a wide variety of marine and terrestrial mammals, including cetaceans, pinnipeds, ungulates, canids, and ursids. An intron within the zinc-finger x (Zfx) and zinc-finger y (Zfy) genes was amplified. Size variation between the Zfx and Zfy introns results in a Y-specific band in males. Size of the Zfy intron varies more across species than that of the Zfx intron. This technique is simple and rapid, requires small amounts of DNA, and can be applied to a variety of mammalian species. In contrast to previous methods, only 1 primer set is needed for both gender determination and internal verification of amplification.
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