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Am Nat. 1998 Jan;151(1):7-19. doi: 10.1086/286098.

Genetic maternity and paternity in a local population of armadillos assessed by microsatellite DNA markers and field data.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA.


Genetic data from polymorphic microsatellite loci were employed to estimate paternity and maternity in a local population of nine-banded armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus) in northern Florida. The parentage assessments took advantage of maximum likelihood procedures developed expressly for situations when individuals of neither gender can be excluded a priori as candidate parents. The molecular data for 290 individuals, interpreted alone and in conjunction with detailed biological and spatial information for the population, demonstrate high exclusion probabilities and reasonably strong likelihoods of genetic parentage assignment in many cases; low mean probabilities of successful reproductive contribution to the local population by individual armadillo adults in a given year; and statistically significant microspatial associations of parents and their offspring. Results suggest that molecular assays of highly polymorphic genetic systems can add considerable power to assessments of biological parentage in natural populations even when neither parent is otherwise known.

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