Null alleles are common technical artifacts in genetic-based analysis. Powerful methods enabling their detection in either panmictic or inbred populations have been proposed. However, none of these methods appears unbiased in both types of mating systems, necessitating a priori knowledge of the inbreeding level of the population under study. To counter this problem, I propose to use the software FDist2 to detect the atypical fixation indices that characterize markers with null alleles. The rational behind this approach and the parameter settings are explained. The power of the method for various sample sizes, degrees of inbreeding and null allele frequencies is evaluated using simulated microsatellite and SNP datasets and then compared to two other null allele detection methods. The results clearly show the robustness of the method proposed here as well as its greater accuracy in both panmictic and inbred populations for both types of marker. By allowing a proper detection of null alleles for a wide range of mating systems and markers, this new method is particularly appealing for numerous genetic studies using co-dominant loci.
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