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Chinese Scientists Use DNA to Distinguish Sex of Birds

Chinese scientists have recently succeeded in distinguishing the sex of birds through using the DNA technology.

The research on using DNA to tell the sex of birds was jointly conducted by researchers from Shanghai Zoo and the Shanghai Cells Institute under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Professor Ding Xiaoyan, who heads the research group, said that people usually make mistakes in distinguishing the sex of birds just according to experiences. However, DNA extracted from a feather of a bird can accurately tell the sex of the bird through polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

The current research is limited to pheasants and cranes.

Future research will be extended to rare bird species such as red-crowned cranes and white and black ibises, sources with the Shanghai Zoo said.

Shanghai Zoo, the second largest in China following the Beijing Zoo, is home to more than 2,000 birds of over 200 species.

The Research Center on Endangered Animals under the Shanghai Zoo will invest 30 million yuan (US$3.6 million) this year to conduct research on transplanting the embryo of quadrumanas.

(Xinhua 01/12/2001)

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