• enumeration;
  • microsatellites;
  • Monte Carlo simulations;
  • partial heterozygote;
  • polyploids


Despite the importance of tetraploid species, most population genetic studies deal with diploid ones because of difficulties in analysing codominant microsatellite data in tetraploid species. We developed a new software program—atetra—which combines both the rigorous method of enumeration for small data sets and Monte Carlo simulations for large ones. We discuss the added value of atetra by comparing its precision, stability and calculation time for different population sizes with those obtained from previous software programs tetrasat and tetra. The influence of the number of simulations on the calculation stability is also investigated. atetra and tetrasat proved to be more precise when compared with tetra, which, however, remains faster. atetra has the same precision than tetrasat, but is much faster, can handle an infinite number of partial heterozygotes and calculates more genetic variables. The more user-friendly interface of atetra reduces possible mistakes.