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Impact of scoring error and reproducibility RAPD data on RAPD based estimates of genetic distance


RAPD band reproducibility and scoring error were evaluated for RAPDs generated by 50 RAPD primers among ten snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) genotypes. Genetic distances based on different sets of RAPD bands were compared to evaluate the impact of scoring error, reproducibility, and differences in relative amplification strength on the reproducibility of RAPD based genetic distance estimates. The measured RAPD data scoring error was 2%. Reproducibility, expressed as the percentage of RAPD bands scored that are also scored in replicate data, was 76%. The results indicate that the probability of a scored RAPD band being scored in replicate data is strongly dependent on the uniformity of amplification conditions between experiments, as well as the relative amplification strength of the RAPD band. Significant improvement in the reproducibility of scored bands and some reduction in scoring error was achieved by reducing differences in reaction conditions between replicates. Observed primer variability for the reproducibility of scored RAPDs may also facilitate the selection of primers, resulting in dramatic improvements in the reproducibility of RAPD data used in germplasm studies. Variance of genetic distances across replicates due to sampling error was found to be more than six times greater than that due to scoring error for a set of 192 RAPD bands. Genetic distance matrices computed from the RAPD bands scored in replicated data and RAPD bands that failed to be scored in replicated data were not significantly different. Differences in the ethidium bromide staining intensity of RAPD bands were not associated with significant differences in resulting genetic distance matrices. The assumption of sampling error as the only source of error was sufficient to account for the observed variation in genetic distance estimates across independent sets of RAPD bands.

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Communicated by G. E. Hart

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Skroch, P., Nienhuis, J. Impact of scoring error and reproducibility RAPD data on RAPD based estimates of genetic distance. Theoret. Appl. Genetics 91, 1086–1091 (1995).

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Key words

  • Phaseolus vulgaris
  • RAPD variation Reproducibility
  • Scoring error
  • Genetic distance