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Identification of sex-linked SNP markers in wild populations of monomorphic birds
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  • Aina Garcia-Raventós,
  • Antonio Muñoz-Merida,
  • Oriol Lapiedra,
  • Mar Unzeta,
  • Mariona Ferrandiz-Rovira,
  • Daniel Sol
Aina Garcia-Raventós
Centre de Recerca Ecològica i Aplicacions Forestals

Corresponding Author:a.garcia@creaf.uab.cat

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Antonio Muñoz-Merida
Universidade do Porto Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos
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Oriol Lapiedra
Centre de Recerca Ecològica i Aplicacions Forestals
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Mar Unzeta
Centre de Recerca Ecològica i Aplicacions Forestals
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Mariona Ferrandiz-Rovira
Centre de Recerca Ecològica i Aplicacions Forestals
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Daniel Sol
Centre de Recerca Ecologica i Aplicacions Forestals
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Single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analyses are a powerful tool for population genetics, pedigree reconstruction and phenotypic trait mapping. SNPs could also be useful for sexing individuals in species with reduced sexual dimorphism, yet this possibility remains poorly explored. Here, we develop a novel protocol for molecular sexing of birds based on the detection of unique Z- and W-linked SNP markers. Our method is based on the identification of two unique loci, one in each sexual chromosome. Individuals are considered males when they are heterozygotic for the Z-linked SNP and females when they are homozygote for the Z-linked SNP and have the W-linked SNP. We validated the method in the Jackdaw (Corvus monedula), a species whose reduced sexual dimorphism makes it difficult to sex individuals in the wild. We assessed the reliability of the method with 36 individuals of known sex, and found that their sex was correctly assigned in 100% of cases. The sex-linked markers also proved to be widely applicable to discriminate males and females from a sample of 927 genotyped individuals of different maturity stages with an accuracy of 99.5%. Given that SNP markers are increasingly used in quantitative genetic analyses of wild populations, the approach we propose has a great potential to be integrated into broader genetic research programmes without the need of additional sexing techniques.
31 Jan 2023Submitted to Molecular Ecology Resources
02 Feb 2023Assigned to Editor
02 Feb 2023Submission Checks Completed
02 Feb 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
07 Feb 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned