Plant and animal species identification

  • How do you identify plants using DNA technology?

    Firstly, we extract DNA from plant tissue (i.e. leaf, roots and seeds|). Then we sequence and analyse 2 genes called rbcL and matk. These genes are widely used to identify plant species by DNA. We will compare the DNA sequence obtained against a database of reference sequences.

  • How do you identify fungi using DNA technology?

    First we extract DNA from fungi tissue. Then we sequence and analyse the genes ITS1, ITS2 and 5.8 rDNA.These genes are widely used to identify plant species by DNA. We will compare the DNA sequence obtained against a database of reference sequences.

  • What services do you offer for ornithologists?

    We offer a range of services including


    • Bird species identification (this involves maternal use only so is therefore not recommended for hybrid birds)
    • Bird sex determination
    • Bird parentage (this service is for peregrine falcons only)

DNA in the environment

Bird services

  • So how do you determine the sex of a bird?

    DNA testing is the most reliable way to determine the sex of mono-morphic bird species. We use cutting edge molecular biology techniques and provide free sample collection kits.

    In birds, two chromosomes (W and Z) determine sex. Females carry one of each (ZW), while males carry two Z chromosomes (ZZ). Using state-of-the-art genetic technology, we analyse for the presence of Z and W sex chromosomes in your birds, identifying them as male or female.

    We are also developing a wide range of other genetic testing services, including but not limited to avian parentage testing and studbooks. For more information on any one of these, please do not hesitate to get in touch on 0191 543 9448.

  • How much does it cost?

    Our current price for a three day turnaround, upon sample receipt at our laboratory, is £20 (incl. VAT) per sample for general avian sexing. There are no hidden costs.

    Our sampling kits are FREE and can be requested via phone at any time during the year on 0191 543 9448 or via e-mail at sales@chxout.com. Each kit contains enough sampling material to submit 5 samples to us for testing, if you would like more then please mention this when contacting us. Our kits have no shelf life and if the breeding season is over or all your birds have been sexed, you can keep them for next year.

    We also offer an accelerated two day service for £30 per sample.

    Please carefully read our Terms and Conditions of sale, which indicate our refund policy.

  • How can I track the progress of my sample?

    Once we have your samples, we can give you an expected completion date. If you wish to check the progress of your samples during the processing time, please either e-mail or call.

    Please note that no results will be released until they have been checked and signed off by the Operations Manager.

  • My chicks have already hatched but I don't have one of your kits. What do I do?

    If you do not have one of our sampling kits, please place each sample in individual sealed containers (such as a Ziploc bag) or 1.5ml tubes and make sure they are individually clearly labelled. Make sure you also supply your name, address and a contact number/e-mail so we can maintain contact with you.

    You can request a specific number of kits to be posted to you via telephone (0191 543 9448) or e-mail us at sales@chxout.com

  • What information do we need from you?

    You can download a Personal Details, Sample Submission Instructions and Sample Record form on our Bird Sexing page to supply all information we need along with your samples. This will include your name, address, a contact number and an e-mail address.

    Additionally to this, we ask for the ring number of each bird and, if different, your own reference for each bird. This allows you to identify each bird with ease and efficiency once you receive your results.

  • What kind of sample do we need?

    Our preferred method of sampling is using egg membrane, however if this is no longer an option, perhaps because the eggshell has been discarded and you wish to use a different sampling method, please get in touch with a member of our team. We accept freshly plucked feathers or blood samples and prefer wherever possible to be notified if you are intending to send these.

    We prefer not to use mouth swabs but will do so only as a last resort, but please contact us to discuss first.

  • What happens if I do not take the sample properly or if it is mixed up by the sampler?

    On rare occasions we are unable to obtain a result or we may identify issues with contamination of the original sample. For example, we have recently identified from a swab sample a peregrine that had recently eaten a great tit!

    The actions we will take are as follows:
    1. We will repeat the work through the laboratory, free of charge.
    2. If we do not get a conclusive result, we will take the decision to re-sample and offer you this opportunity, however this can cause a delay to your expected completion date.

    We have issues in the past with customers mixing up samples at their premises; please take care to sample each egg membrane or bird one at a time and to put the samples into clearly labelled tubes individually.

    We do not recommend the use of swab samples.  It is difficult to get enough sample from a bird of prey for this purpose and we are perhaps more likely to obtain the sex of the last meal.

  • What is a DNA identity card?
  • How do you conduct a paternity test on a bird?

General questions about our service

  • Who are we?

    chXout is a trademark of Complement Genomics Ltd, a company with over 15 years of genetic testing experience. Our offices and laboratories are based in the Durham Genome Centre in Lanchester, Co. Durham, UK, DH7 0EX.

    We provide a wide range of DNA testing services on an international basis for both humans and animals. Our laboratories are ISO 17025 accredited for paternity testing which allows us to be on the list of companies recommended by the Ministry of Justice. Our testing includes genotyping for clinical trials, animal genetics (species identification, parentage, bird sexing) and human testing for paternity, sibling ship, immigration and surrogacy for the legal profession and social services.

    For more information on our other brands and services, please go to our website: http://www.compgeno.com

  • How do I pay for the service?

    Ideally, we would be grateful if you could place your order via our secure shopping cart. However, you may also pay by phone by calling 0191 543 9448 during business hours. We also accept direct bank transfer including mobile devices, please contact us for account details. If you are a business, you may prefer us to issue an invoice. Our regular business customers may be granted credit terms, but otherwise we would expect cleared funds from all of our customer before releasing the results.

chXout is a registered trademark of Complement Genomics Ltd.

The Durham Genome Centre, Park House, Station Road, Lanchester, Durham, DH7 0EX

Registered in England and Wales no. 03929876

VAT no. 746970882

© Complement Genomics Ltd. Website by Outlines Design.