Low genotyping error rates and noninvasive sampling in bighorn sheep

Gordon Luikart, Stephanie Zundel, Delpine Rioux, Christian Miquel, Kim A. Keating, John T. Hogg, Brian Steele, Kerry Foresman, Pierre Taberlet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Noninvasive DNA sampling allows studies of natural populations without disturbing the target animals. Unfortunately, high genotyping error rates often make noninvasive studies difficult. We report low error rates (0.0-7.5%/locus) when genotyping 18 microsatellite loci in only 4 multiplex polymerase chain reaction amplifications using fecal DNA from bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis). The average locus-specific error rates varied significantly between the 2 populations (0.13% vs. 1.6%; P < 0.001), as did multi-locus genotype error rates (2.3% vs. 14.1%; P < 0.007). This illustrates the importance of quantifying error rates in each study population (and for each season and sample preservation method) before initiating a noninvasive study. Our error rates are among the lowest reported for fecal samples collected noninvasively in the field. This and other recent studies suggest that noninvasive fecal samples can be used in species with pellet-form feces for nearly any study (e.g., of population structure, gene flow, dispersal, parentage, and even genome-wide studies to detect local adaptation) that previously required high-quality blood or tissue samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-304
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Wildlife Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Bighorn sheep
  • Genotyping error
  • Microsatellite DNA
  • Noninvasive genetics
  • Ovis canadensis
  • Remote sampling


Dive into the research topics of 'Low genotyping error rates and noninvasive sampling in bighorn sheep'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this