Baby girl panda, Sept. 2, 2013. Photo credit: Smithsonian National Zoological Park/Flickr user spiderxcat. Photo is screenshot from zoo's online panda cam. Screenshot taken by Flickr user spiderxcat and uploaded to zoo's #cubwatch Flickr page.
The Smithsonian's National Zoo announced on Thursday that its baby panda, born to the zoo's giant panda Mei Xiang on Aug. 23, is a girl.
Scientists also confirmed that the baby panda's dad is the National Zoo's giant panda Tian Tian, according to a National Zoo statement. The little panda was the result of artificial insemination that took place on March 30. The zoo used semen from two pandas—Tian Tian and the San Diego Zoo’s Gao Gao, the zoo reported.
The little cub's stillborn twin, born on Aug. 24, also was a girl whose father was Tian Tian. The two cubs were fraternal twins, the zoo's statement reported.
Two tests were used by zoo scientists to determine the sex of the two baby pandas.
"The first test was developed by scientists in China and analyzes a fragment of the zinc finger protein gene. The second test, also using a shorter fragment of the same zinc finger protein gene, was developed by SCBI scientists and veterinarians. They used the second test to verify the results of the initial test," the zoo's statement reported.
To determine paternity, zoo scientists "compared a small sample of muscle tissue from the stillborn cub and a tiny sample of cheek cells from the cub born on Aug. 23 to the adult pandas’ DNA samples," the zoo reported on its website.