Estimation of Heterozygosity for Single-Probe Multilocus DNA Fingerprints
Molecular Biology and Evolution
Hypervariable minisatellites, Genetic relatedness, Polymorphism, Gene diversity, Population genetics
In spite of the increasing application of DNA fingerprinting to natural populations and to the genetic identification of humans, explicit methods for estimation of basic population genetic parameters from DNA fingerprinting data have not been developed. Contributing to this omission is the inability to determine, for multilocus fingerprinting probes, relatively important genetic information, such as the number of loci, the number of alleles, and the distribution of these alleles into specific loci. One of the most useful genetic parameters that could be derived from such data would be the average heterozygosity, which has traditionally been employed to measure the level of genetic variation within populations and to compare genetic variation among different loci. We derive here explicit formulas for both the estimation of average heterozygosity at multiple hypervariable loci and a maximum value for this estimate. These estimates are based upon the DNA restriction-pattern matrices that are typical for fingerprinting studies of humans and natural populations. For several empirical data sets from our laboratory, estimates of average and maximal heterozygosity are shown to be relatively close to each other. Furthermore, variances of these statistics based on simulation studies are relatively small. These observations, as well as consideration of the effect of missing alleles and alternate numbers of loci, suggest that the average heterozygosity can be accurately estimated using phenotypic DNA fingerprint patterns, because this parameter is relatively insensitive to the lack of certain genetic information.
Stephens, J. Claiborne; Dennis Gilbert; Naoya Yuhki; and Stephen J. O'Brien. 1992. "Estimation of Heterozygosity for Single-Probe Multilocus DNA Fingerprints." Molecular Biology and Evolution 9, (4): 729-743. https://nsuworks.nova.edu/cnso_bio_facarticles/291