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How many genetic markers to tag an individual?: An empirical assessment of false matching rates among close relatives
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology.
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2011 (English)In: Ecological Applications, ISSN 1051-0761, E-ISSN 1939-5582, Vol. 21, no 3, 877-887 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Genetic identification of individuals is now commonplace, enabling the application of tagging methods to elusive species or species that cannot be tagged by traditional methods. A key aspect is determining the number of loci required to ensure that different individuals have non-matching multi-locus genotypes. Closely related individuals are of particular concern because of elevated matching probabilities caused by their recent coancestry. This issue may be addressed by increasing the number of loci to a level where full siblings (the relatedness category with the highest matching probability) are expected to have non-matching multi-locus genotypes. However, increasing the number of loci to meet this full-sib criterion greatly increases the laboratory effort, which in turn may increase the genotyping error rate resulting in an upward-biased mark-recapture estimate of abundance as recaptures are missed due to genotyping errors. We assessed the contribution of false matches from close relatives among 425 maternally related humpback whales, each genotyped at 20 microsatellite loci. We observed a very low (0.5-4%) contribution to falsely matching samples from pairs of first-order relatives (i.e., parent and offspring or full siblings). The main contribution to falsely matching individuals from close relatives originated from second-order relatives (e. g., half siblings), which was estimated at; 9%. In our study, the total number of observed matches agreed well with expectations based upon the matching probability estimated for unrelated individuals, suggesting that the full-sib criterion is overly conservative, and would have required a 280% relative increase in effort. We suggest that, under most circumstances, the overall contribution to falsely matching samples from close relatives is likely to be low, and hence applying the full-sib criterion is unnecessary. In those cases where close relatives may present a significant issue, such as unrepresentative sampling, we propose three different genotyping strategies requiring only a modest increase in effort, which will greatly reduce the number of false matches due to the presence of related individuals.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 21, no 3, 877-887 p.
Keyword [en]
abundance estimation, conservation, error rates, genetic tagging, humpback whale, mark-recapture, Megaptera novaeangliae, microsatellite, monitoring, number of loci, probability of identity, relatedness
National Category
Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-68830ISI: 000290661300019OAI: diva2:474080
authorCount :5Available from: 2012-01-09 Created: 2012-01-07 Last updated: 2012-01-09Bibliographically approved

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Palsböll, Per J.Berube, Martine
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