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Recommendations for utilizing and reporting population genetic analyses: the reproducibility of genetic clustering using the program structure

Authors

  • Kimberly J. Gilbert,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    • Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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  • Rose L. Andrew,

    1. Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    2. Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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  • Dan G. Bock,

    1. Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    2. Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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  • Michelle T. Franklin,

    1. Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    2. Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada
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  • Nolan C. Kane,

    1. Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    2. Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    3. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
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  • Jean-Sébastien Moore,

    1. Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    2. Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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  • Brook T. Moyers,

    1. Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    2. Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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  • Sébastien Renaut,

    1. Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    2. Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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  • Diana J. Rennison,

    1. Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    2. Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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  • Thor Veen,

    1. Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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  • Timothy H. Vines

    1. Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    2. Molecular Ecology Editorial Office, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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Errata

This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Corrigendum Volume 22, Issue 8, 2357, Article first published online: 4 February 2013

Correspondence: Kimberly J. Gilbert, Fax: (604) 822-2416; E-mail: kgilbert@zoology.ubc.ca

Abstract

Reproducibility is the benchmark for results and conclusions drawn from scientific studies, but systematic studies on the reproducibility of scientific results are surprisingly rare. Moreover, many modern statistical methods make use of ‘random walk’ model fitting procedures, and these are inherently stochastic in their output. Does the combination of these statistical procedures and current standards of data archiving and method reporting permit the reproduction of the authors' results? To test this, we reanalysed data sets gathered from papers using the software package structure to identify genetically similar clusters of individuals. We find that reproducing structure results can be difficult despite the straightforward requirements of the program. Our results indicate that 30% of analyses were unable to reproduce the same number of population clusters. To improve this, we make recommendations for future use of the software and for reporting structure analyses and results in published works.

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