Send to

Choose Destination
Theor Popul Biol. 2001 Jun;59(4):315-31.

A bayesian framework for parentage analysis: the value of genetic and other biological data.

Author information

Department of Zoology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario N6A 5B7, Canada.


We develop fractional allocation models and confidence statistics for parentage analysis in mating systems. The models can be used, for example, to estimate the paternities of candidate males when the genetic mother is known or to calculate the parentage of candidate parent pairs when neither is known. The models do not require two implicit assumptions made by previous models, assumptions that are potentially erroneous. First, we provide formulas to calculate the expected parentage, as opposed to using a maximum likelihood algorithm to calculate the most likely parentage. The expected parentage is superior as it does not assume a symmetrical probability distribution of parentage and therefore, unlike the most likely parentage, will be unbiased. Second, we provide a mathematical framework for incorporating additional biological data to estimate the prior probability distribution of parentage. This additional biological data might include behavioral observations during mating or morphological measurements known to correlate with parentage. The value of multiple sources of information is increased accuracy of the estimates. We show that when the prior probability of parentage is known, and the expected parentage is calculated, fractional allocation provides unbiased estimates of the variance in reproductive success, thereby correcting a problem that has previously plagued parentage analyses. We also develop formulas to calculate the confidence interval in the parentage estimates, thus enabling the assessment of precision. These confidence statistics have not previously been available for fractional models. We demonstrate our models with several biological examples based on data from two fish species that we study, coho salmon (Oncorhychus kisutch) and bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus). In coho, multiple males compete to fertilize a single female's eggs. We show how behavioral observations taken during spawning can be combined with genetic data to provide an accurate calculation of each male's paternity. In bluegill, multiple males and multiple females may mate in a single nest. For a nest, we calculate the fertilization success and the 95% confidence interval of each candidate parent pair.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center