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Mol Ecol Resour. 2013 May;13(3):362-8. doi: 10.1111/1755-0998.12072. Epub 2013 Jan 25.

A sensitive and specific multiplex PCR approach for sex identification of ursine and tremarctine bears suitable for non-invasive samples.

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LOEWE Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung, Senckenberganlage 25, 60325, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


We report a new approach for molecular sex identification of extant Ursinae and Tremarctinae bears. Two Y-specific fragments (SMCY and 318.2) and one X-specific fragment (ZFX) are amplified in a multiplex PCR, yielding a double test for male-specific amplification and an internal positive control. The primers were designed and tested to be bear-specific, thereby minimizing the risk of cross-amplification in other species including humans. The high sensitivity and small amplicon sizes (100, 124, 160 base pairs) facilitate analysis of non-invasively obtained DNA material. DNA from tissue and blood as well as from 30 non-invasively collected hair and faeces yielded clear and easily interpretable results. The fragments were detected both by standard gel electrophoresis and automated capillary electrophoresis.

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