Conservation Genetics

, 10:2005 | Cite as

Sampling error in non-invasive genetic analyses of an endangered social carnivore

  • Penny A. Spiering
  • Micaela Szykman Gunther
  • David E. Wildt
  • Michael J. Somers
  • Jesús E. Maldonado
Technical Note


Modern non-invasive genetic technologies are useful in studies of rare and difficult-to-observe species. An examination of endangered African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) faecal DNA revealed that 11.4% of samples were assigned incorrectly to an individual. Sampling mistakes in the field are not normally considered in non-invasive genetic assessments, but can be a significant source of error. To ensure meticulous data interpretation, non-invasive genetic studies should track and report sampling inaccuracies.


Lycaon pictus Non-invasive Microsatellites Sampling error Faecal sampling 



This research was supported by Smithsonian Institution, University of Pretoria, Rotterdam Thandiza Fund, Humboldt State University, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund, Knowsley Safari Park, DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology, Pittsburgh Zoo and Morris Animal Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Penny A. Spiering
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Micaela Szykman Gunther
    • 2
    • 4
  • David E. Wildt
    • 2
  • Michael J. Somers
    • 3
    • 5
  • Jesús E. Maldonado
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics, National Zoological ParkSmithsonian InstitutionWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Center for Species Survival, Conservation and Research Center, National Zoological ParkSmithsonian InstitutionFront RoyalUSA
  3. 3.Centre for Wildlife ManagementUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa
  4. 4.Department of WildlifeHumboldt State UniversityArcataUSA
  5. 5.Centre for Invasion BiologyUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa

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