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PeerJ. 2016 Mar 14;4:e1813. doi: 10.7717/peerj.1813. eCollection 2016.

Reducing bias in population and landscape genetic inferences: the effects of sampling related individuals and multiple life stages.

Author information

1
School of Environment and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, United States; Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri - Columbia, Columbia, MO, United States.
2
Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri - Columbia , Columbia, MO , United States.

Abstract

In population or landscape genetics studies, an unbiased sampling scheme is essential for generating accurate results, but logistics may lead to deviations from the sample design. Such deviations may come in the form of sampling multiple life stages. Presently, it is largely unknown what effect sampling different life stages can have on population or landscape genetic inference, or how mixing life stages can affect the parameters being measured. Additionally, the removal of siblings from a data set is considered best-practice, but direct comparisons of inferences made with and without siblings are limited. In this study, we sampled embryos, larvae, and adult Ambystoma maculatum from five ponds in Missouri, and analyzed them at 15 microsatellite loci. We calculated allelic richness, heterozygosity and effective population sizes for each life stage at each pond and tested for genetic differentiation (F ST and D C ) and isolation-by-distance (IBD) among ponds. We tested for differences in each of these measures between life stages, and in a pooled population of all life stages. All calculations were done with and without sibling pairs to assess the effect of sibling removal. We also assessed the effect of reducing the number of microsatellites used to make inference. No statistically significant differences were found among ponds or life stages for any of the population genetic measures, but patterns of IBD differed among life stages. There was significant IBD when using adult samples, but tests using embryos, larvae, or a combination of the three life stages were not significant. We found that increasing the ratio of larval or embryo samples in the analysis of genetic distance weakened the IBD relationship, and when using D C , the IBD was no longer significant when larvae and embryos exceeded 60% of the population sample. Further, power to detect an IBD relationship was reduced when fewer microsatellites were used in the analysis.

KEYWORDS:

Ambystoma; Amphibian; Complex life cycle; Genetic sampling; Landscape genetics; Microsatellite; Mixing tissue samples; Population genetics; Salamander; Sibship

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