A DNA test to sex ratite birds
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DNA-based sex tests now exist for many avian species. However, none of these tests are widely applicable to ratites. We present DNA sequence data for a locus that is W chromosome-linked in the kiwi, ostrich, cassowary, rhea, and emu. At the amino acid level, this sequence has significant homology to X-linked genes in platyfish and Caenorhabditis elegans . Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) primers designed to this locus allow the assignment of sex in all species of living ratites.