Sexing the Sciuridae: a simple and accurate set of molecular methods to determine sex in tree squirrels, ground squirrels and marmots


Jamieson C. Gorrell, Stan Boutin, Shirley Raveh, Peter Neuhaus, Steeve D. Côté, and David W. Coltman


Molecular Ecology Resources 12:806–809; 2012


We determined the sequence of the male-specific minor histocompatibility complex antigen (Smcy) from the Y chromosome of seven squirrel species (Sciuridae, Rodentia). Based on conserved regions inside the Smcy intron sequence, we designed PCR primers for sex determination in these species that can be co-amplified with nuclear loci as controls. PCR co-amplification yields two products for males and one for females that are easily visualized as bands by agarose gel electrophoresis. Our method provides simple and reliable sex determination across a wide range of squirrel species.