Sex determination in mammals
The sex determination in mammals is genetic. If females and males differ in their appearance, they are designated as sexually dimorphic. Besides the different sex organs, the dimorphic individuals differ also in secondary features, such as colour, size and shape. In species without sexual dimorphism or in less distinctive young animals, genetics can be used to determine the sex. The sex identification by the method of molecular genetics is of great benefit to animals as they are not stressed by invasive sex examination. The genetic test is quick, available and reliable.
In general, the mammals have two sex chromosomes X an Y. In placental mammals incl. humans the males develop due to the male-dominant effect of the sex chromosome Y. The Y-chromosome contains approx. 1400 genes and belongs to medium-size mammal sex chromosomes (~155 Mb). The X-chromosome contains not only genes responsible for the development of female reproductive organs and reproduction, but also genes responsible for the brain function. On contrary, the human Y-chromosome is smaller than X-chromosome and contains approx. only 45 active genes. The Y-chromosome carries in particular specific genes having effect on the development of the male organs in XY embryos – one of these genes is SRY-gene (sex-determining factor Y). The mammalian XY-chromosomes have obviously developed from an ancestral pair of autosomes, independent on the avian Z- and W-chromosomes. The primitive egg-laying (oviparious) mammals (Prototheria) have a greater number of sex chromosomes; the females of duckbilled platypus have 5 X-chromosomes and the males have the same number of Y-chromosomes.
During the embryonic development stage, the sex of an individual can be affected by genetic factors or, in some cases, by environment. We can also see this phenomenon for example in reptiles, where the sex is determined by the temperature during the egg incubation.
The SRY-genes (sex-determining factor Y), ZFX/Y (zinc finger protein), AMELX and AMELY (amelogenin) are genes used to determine sex by the methods of molecular genetics in humans and placental mammals.
In case of primitive mammals, specific regions of autosomes, by which the both genders differ, are used to determine the sex. The sex can be identified either directly by sequence analysis or fragment length polymorphism analysis (RFLP).
Very often, the presence of the species-specific SRY-gene or the differences in the sequence of AMELX and AMELY are determined. The genes for amelogenin and ZFX/Y are exceptional as they are present both on X and Y chromosomes and differ only in their sequence.
Genomia performs sex identification for many mammal species. In the below overview of mammals, you can find species, written in bolt, for which the sex determination test can be ordered. Should you not find the species you are interested in, please do not hesitate to contact us. Price on request, 24.79 € - 41.32 € per test / 35.00 $ - 58.34 $ (prices excluding VAT 21%, we charge without VAT to VAT-registered EU customers or to outside EU customers).
Prototheria (egg-laying mammals)
- Tachyglossidae (echidnas)
- Australian echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus)
- Eutheria (placentals)
- Proboscidea (elephants)
- Asian elephant (Elephas maximus)
- Tenrecidae (tenrecs)
- Chrysochloridae (Golden moles)
- Hyracoidea (rock rabbits/dassies)
- Macroscelidea (elephants shrews)
- Sirenia (manatees and dugongs (seacows))
- Tubulidentata (aardvarks)
- Proboscidea (elephants)
- Dermoptera (flying lemurs)
- Rodentia (rodents)
- Castoridae (beaver)
- Lagomorpha (lagomorphs)
- Scandentia (tree shrews)
- Carnivora (carnivores)
- Canidae (dog, coyot, wolf, fox)
- coyote (Canis latrans)
- gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)
- red fox (Vulpes vulpes)
- domestic dog (Canis familiaris)
- maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus)
- American mink (Mustela vison)
- Ermine or stoat (Mustela erminea)
- Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra)
- Eurasian badger (Meles meles)
- European pine marten (Martes martes)
- Ursidae (bears)
- brown bear (Ursus arctos)
- polar bear (U. maritimus)
- American black bear (U. americanus)
- Asiatic black bear (U. thibetanus)
- Malayan sun bear (Helarctos malayanus)
- sloth bear (Melursus ursinus)
- spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus)
- giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)
- Hyaenidae (hyaenas)
- unclassified Carnivora
- Cetartiodactyla (whales, hippos, ruminants, pigs, camels etc.)
- Cetacea (whales)
- hippotatamus (Hippotatamus amphibius)
- unclassified Cetartiodactyla
- Chiroptera (bats)
- Insectivora (hedgehogs, shrews, moles and others)
- Perissodactyla (odd-toed ungulates)
- Equidae (horses)
- Rhinocerotidae (rhinoceroses)
- Tapiridae (tapirs)
- Unclassified Perissodactyla
- Pholidota (pangolins)
- Metatheria (marsupials)
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