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Keywords:

  • Canis lupus;
  • faecal DNA sampling;
  • genotyping errors;
  • genotyping success;
  • Ursus arctos

Abstract

We investigated the influence of sampling location within a faeces on DNA quality by sampling from both the outside and inside of 25 brown bear (Ursus arctos) scats and the side and the tip of 30 grey wolf (Canis lupus) scats. The outside of the bear scat and side of the wolf scat had significantly lower nuclear DNA microsatellite allelic dropout error rates (U. arctos: P = 0.017; C. lupus: P = 0.025) and significantly higher finalized genotyping success rates (U. arctos: P = 0.017; C. lupus: P = 0.012) than the tip and inside of the scat. A review of the faecal DNA literature indicated that <45% of studies report the sampling location within a faeces indicating that this methodological consideration is currently underappreciated. Based on our results, we recommend sampling from the side of canid scats and the outside portion of ursid scats to obtain higher quality DNA samples. The sampling location within a faeces should be carefully considered and reported as it can directly influence laboratory costs and efficiency, as well as the ability to obtain reliable genotypes.