Noninvasive genetic analysis in birds: testing reliability of feather samples

Authors

  • G. Segelbacher

    Corresponding author
    1. Wildlife Research and Management Unit, TU München, Am Hochanger 13, D-85354 Freising, Germany
      G. Segelbacher. *Present address: Vogelwarte Radolfzell, Schlossallee 2, D-78315 Radolfzell, Germany. Fax: +49 7732 150169; E-mail: gernot.segelbacher@uni-tuebingen.de
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G. Segelbacher. *Present address: Vogelwarte Radolfzell, Schlossallee 2, D-78315 Radolfzell, Germany. Fax: +49 7732 150169; E-mail: gernot.segelbacher@uni-tuebingen.de

Abstract

Noninvasive samples are useful for molecular genetic analysis of free-ranging animals. I tested whether moulted feathers collected in the field are a reliable source of DNA for genotyping microsatellite loci. I prescreened extracts for DNA quantity and, using only samples with higher amounts of DNA, obtained reliable genotyping results. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification success was higher from extracts of plucked feathers than moulted feathers. DNA quantity in larger feathers was higher than that in smaller feathers. This study clearly demonstrates that moulted feathers could be used for genetic studies in birds.

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