Therion International

DNA-Based Testing for Avian Species


  • Parentage Verification
  • Individual Identification for Studbook Registry
  • Estimation of Genetic Variation for Breeding Management
  • Population / Subspecies Differentiation
  • Bird Sexing

Parentage Verification

  • Scarlet/Waldrapp Ibises
Ibis Autorad

Scarlet Ibises

In a study of mating/reproductive strategies in scarlet and Waldrapp ibises it was essential to verify parentage of alleged offspring of mated pairs. The autoradiograph at left depicts the DNA profiles of a nesting pair of scarlet ibises and their chick. Note that each genetic marker observed in the DNA profile of the chick can also be observed in the DNA profile of one or both adults thus verifying parentage. No scarlet ibis chicks were found to be the product of an extra pair copulation, however some Waldrapp chicks were “excluded” from being the offspring of the mated pair who's nest they were found in.

Estimation of Genetic Relatedness

  • Macaws
MacawMacaw AutoradA breeder of macaws had recently purchased three young and allegedly unrelated birds (one male and two females) to add to her breeding flock. Since the male and female B were constantly observed together, the breeder wondered whether she should allow these birds to become a mated pair. DNA-profile testing was conducted to determine the relatedness of the three macaws. The DNA profile results in the figure to the right show a high proportion of shared bands or genetic markers (blue arrows) between the male and female B. It was concluded that the male and female B were probably related (possibly siblings) and therefore should not be paired.
  • Emus
Emu AutoradEmusA rancher who had decided to begin raising emus had purchased several male and female emus to pair together as breeding stock. Since no data concerning the relatedness of the birds had been provided to the rancher, he decided to have DNA profile testing conducted to avoid pairing of related birds. The figure to the left shows the DNA profiles of 11 of the emus tested in the study. All possible male-female pairs were examined genetically to determine relatedness. The genetic similarity within pairs ranged from 28% to 82%, suggesting that some males and females were probably siblings. Using the DNA data, the rancher chose to pair up males and females which showed the least amount of genetic relatedness. By so doing, he avoided inbreeding in his flock and should therefore expect higher egg/chick production.
Specimen Requirements (please call before shipping any samples)
Specimen Type Volume Container Shipping Instructions
Whole Blood containing Nucleated RBC 0.1 - 2 ml EDTA purple top Vacutainer™ Liquid - overnight on ice packs
Tissue Call for instructions
Blood/Feathers for Bird Sexing

Download the Adobe Acrobat version of this page (avian.pdf).

Therion International, LLC
109 Caroline Street - Saratoga Springs, New York 12866
(518) 584-4300 -- (518) 584-2310 Fax

All graphics and information contained on this site are the property of Therion International.
Copyright 1996-2004.
Last updated: April 13, 2004. Contact Therion's if you have problems viewing this site.