Buccal swabs have recently been used as a minimally invasive sampling method in genetic studies of wild populations, including amphibian species. Yet it is not known to date what is the level of reliability for microsatellite genotypes obtained using such samples. Allelic dropout and false alleles may affect the genotyping derived from buccal samples. Here we quantified the success of microsatellite amplification and the rates of genotyping errors using buccal swabs in two amphibian species, the Alpine newt Triturus alpestris and the Green tree frog Hyla arborea, and we estimated two important parameters for downstream analyses, namely the number of repetitions required to achieve typing reliability and the probability of identity among genotypes. Amplification success was high, and only one locus tested required two to three repetitions to achieve reliable genotypes, showing that buccal swabbing is a very efficient approach allowing good quality DNA retrieval. This sampling method which allows avoiding the controversial toe-clipping will likely prove very useful in the context of amphibian conservation.
Non-destructive samplingAmplification successGenotyping errorsProbability of identityHyla arboreaTriturus alpestris