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Anim Genet. 2004 Jun;35(3):220-6.

Impact of candidate sire number and sire relatedness on DNA polymorphism-based measures of exclusion probability and probability of unambiguous parentage.

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Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center, University of Nebraska, P.O. Box 148, Clay Center, NE 68933, USA.


Genetic paternity testing can provide sire identity data for offspring when females have been exposed to multiple males. However, correct paternity assignment can be influenced by factors determined in the laboratory and by size and genetic composition of breeding groups. In the present study, DNA samples from 26 commingled beef bulls and their calves from the Nebraska Reference Herd-1 (NRH1), along with previously reported Illinois Reference/Resource Families data, were used to estimate the impact of sire number and sire relatedness on microsatellite-based paternity testing. Assay performance was measured by exclusion probabilities and probabilities of unambiguous parentage (PUP) were derived. Proportion of calves with unambiguous parentage (PCUP) was also calculated to provide a readily understandable whole-herd measure of unambiguous paternity assignment. For NRH1, theoretical and observed PCUP values were in close agreement (85.3 and 85.8%, respectively) indicating good predictive value. While the qualitative effects on PUP values of altering sire number and sire relatedness were generally predictable, we demonstrate that the impacts of these variables, and their interaction effects, can be large, are non-linear, and are quantitatively distinct for different combinations of sire number and degree of sire relatedness. In view of the potentially complex dynamics and practical consequences of these relationships in both research and animal production settings, we suggest that a priori estimation of the quantitative impact of a given set of interacting breeding group-specific and assay-specific parameters on PUP may be indicated, particularly when candidate sire pools are large, sire relatedness may be high, and/or loci numbers or heterozygosity values may be limiting.

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