Intraspecific DNA contamination distorts subtle population structure in a marine fish: Decontamination of herring samples before restriction‐site associated sequencing and its effects on population genetic statistics
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Intraspecific DNA contamination distorts subtle population structure in a marine fish: Decontamination of herring samples before restriction‐site associated sequencing and its effects on population genetic statistics

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  • Journal Title:
    Molecular Ecology Resources
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    Wild specimens are often collected in challenging field conditions, where samples may be contaminated with the DNA of conspecific individuals. This contamination can result in false genotype calls, which are difficult to detect, but may also cause inaccurate estimates of heterozygosity, allele frequencies and genetic differentiation. Marine broadcast spawners are especially problematic, because population genetic differentiation is low and samples are often collected in bulk and sometimes from active spawning aggregations. Here, we used contaminated and clean Pacific herring (Clupea pallasi) samples to test (a) the efficacy of bleach decontamination, (b) the effect of decontamination on RAD genotypes and (c) the consequences of contaminated samples on population genetic analyses. We collected fin tissue samples from actively spawning (and thus contaminated) wild herring and nonspawning (uncontaminated) herring. Samples were soaked for 10 min in bleach or left untreated, and extracted DNA was used to prepare DNA libraries using a restriction site‐associated DNA (RAD) approach. Our results demonstrate that intraspecific DNA contamination affects patterns of individual and population variability, causes an excess of heterozygotes and biases estimates of population structure. Bleach decontamination was effective at removing intraspecific DNA contamination and compatible with RAD sequencing, producing high‐quality sequences, reproducible genotypes and low levels of missing data. Although sperm contamination may be specific to broadcast spawners, intraspecific contamination of samples may be common and difficult to detect from high‐throughput sequencing data and can impact downstream analyses.
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    Molecular Ecology Resources, 19(5), 1131-1143
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    1755-098X;1755-0998;
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    Accepted Manuscript
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