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Conference Paper in Published Proceedings



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We describe a simple single-reaction technique for identifying the sex of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) based on the PCR amplification of a zinc-finger intron using one pair of primers. Although Sry-coamplification confirmed sex identities, use of the Sry marker was unnecessary due to dimorphic alleles on the X and Y chromosomes at the zinc-finger locus. Insertions in intron 7 of the Y-linked allele (417 bp) make it nearly twice as long as the X-linked allele (236 bp) and thus the amplification products are easily discernable by simple agarose gel electrophoresis. The relatively short size of these products makes them useful for DNA-based sex identification from potentially low-yield tissue samples (e.g., hair, feces). This technique will provide ecologists, conservation geneticists and wildlife managers with a mechanism to readily and reliably identify the sex of un- known white-tailed deer tissue samples, and likely similar samples from other cervid species.