Human DNA probes that identify variable numbers of tandem repeat loci are being used to generate DNA fingerprints in many animal and plant species. In most species the majority of the sc rable autoradiographic bands of the DNA fingerprint represent alleles from numerous unlinked loci. This study was initiated to use DNA fingerprints to determine the amount of band-sharing among captive Hispaniolan parrots (Amazona ventralis) with known genetic relationships. This would form the data base to examine DNA fingerprints of the closely related and endangered Puerto Rican parrot (A. vittata) and to estimate the degree of inbreeding in the relic population. We found by segregation analysis of the bands scored in the DNA fingerprints of the Hispaniolan parrots that there may be as few as two to five loci identified by the human 33.15 probe. Furthermore, at one locus we identified seven alleles, one of which is represented by as many as 19 cosegregating bands. It is unknown how common multiband alleles might be in natural populations, and their existence will cause problems in the assessment of relatedness by band-sharing analysis. We believe, therefore, that a pedigree analysis should be included in all DNA fingerprinting studies, where possible, in order to estimate the number of loci identified by a minisatellite DNA probe and to examine the nature of their alleles.
Additional publication details
Multifragment alleles in DNA fingerprints of the parrot, Amazona ventralis