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Heredity (Edinb). 2002 Jan;88(1):62-5.

How many alleles per locus should be used to estimate genetic distances?

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Conservation Biology Division, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, N.O.A.A., Seattle, WA 98112, USA.


As more microsatellite loci become available for use in genetic surveys of population structure, population geneticists are able to select loci to use in population structure surveys. This study used computer simulations to investigate how the number of alleles at loci affects the precision of estimates of four common genetic distances. This showed that equivalent results could be achieved by examining either a few loci with many alleles or many loci with a few alleles. More specifically, the total number of independent alleles appears to be a good indicator of how precise estimates of genetic distance will be.

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