Comparison of vent sexing and polymerase chain reaction for reliable sex determination in guinea fowls
The guinea fowl is an important poultry species with great economic potential in Africa. It is a monomorphic bird with less conspicuous sexual dimorphism. Inability to sex birds accurately early in their life imposes multiple challenges on breeding, conservation and production of these birds. Several methods have been employed for sexing monomorphic birds each with specific advantages and disadvantages. In the present study, sexes of 215 guinea fowls were determined by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), Vent Sexing and determination of gonads. PCR was used to amplify a sequence homologous to Chicken EcoR1 fragment of 0.6 kb (EE0.6) using Universal Sex Primer (USP) 1 and USP3 and internal control primers. Vent sexing could only diagnose 48.7 % of males accurately while it was able to diagnose females with an accuracy of 81%. Results from PCR was in complete agreement with sex indicated by gonads. Differences in results between PCR and vent sexing were significant (p < 0.05). Vent Sexing alone is not reliable for sexing guinea fowls prior to breeding decisions. Molecular sexing using the method described is recommended for accurate sex determination for breeders and researchers while future research is necessary to develop farmer friendly guidelines for reliable sex determination of guinea fowls.