Estimation of the number of genetic markers required for individual animal identification accounting for genotyping errors

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SummaryNearly all studies that consider the power of exclusion for individual identification using genetic markers ignore the possibility of erroneous genotypes, although individual genotype error rates are approximately 1% for microsatellites. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have lower error rates, but because of their lower information content, more SNPs than microsatellites will be required to obtain the same power of exclusion for traceability. In this study, we accounted for genotyping mistakes by requiring at least two discrepancies to reject a match. Exclusion probabilities were computed analytically and by simulation. A microsatellite with five alleles was approximately comparable in exclusion power to 2–2.25 SNPs. At least eight SNPs were required to achieve a 99% probability of rejection for a match between two individuals, while with 25 SNPs there was a <1% chance for a match between any of five million individuals.

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