Noninvasive genetic sampling: look before you leap

Trends Ecol Evol. 1999 Aug;14(8):323-327. doi: 10.1016/s0169-5347(99)01637-7.


Noninvasive sampling allows genetic studies of free-ranging animals without the need to capture or even observe them, and thus allows questions to be addressed that cannot be answered using conventional methods. Initially, this sampling strategy promised to exploit fully the existing DNA-based technology for studies in ethology, conservation biology and population genetics. However, recent work now indicates the need for a more cautious approach, which includes quantifying the genotyping error rate. Despite this, many of the difficulties of noninvasive sampling will probably be overcome with improved methodology.