Using DNA from non-invasive samples to identify individuals and census populations: an evidential approach tolerant of genotyping errors
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DNA extracted from hair or faeces shows increasing promise for censusing populations whose individuals are difficult to locate. To date, the main problem with this approach has been that genotyping errors are common. If these errors are not identified, counting genotypes is likely to overestimate the number of individuals in a population. Here, we describe an algorithm that uses maximum likelihood estimates of genotyping error rates to calculate the evidence that samples came from the same individual. We test this algorithm with a hypothetical model of genotyping error and show that this algorithm works well with substantial rates of genotyping error and reasonable amounts of data. Additional work is necessary to develop statistical models of error in empirical data.
Keywordsallele dropout census DNA genotyping error non-invasive statistical evidence
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