Using eggshell membranes as a DNA source for population genetic research

K. B. Trimbos, J. Broekman, R. Kentie, C. J. M. Musters, G. R. de Snoo

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


In the context of population genetic research, a faster and less invasive method of DNA sampling would allow large-scale assessments of genetic diversity and genetic differentiation with the help of volunteer observers. The aim of this study was to investigate the usefulness of eggshell membranes as a DNA source for population genetic research, by addressing eggshell membrane DNA quality, degeneration and cross-contamination. To this end, a comparison was made with blood-derived DNA samples. We have demonstrated 100% successful DNA extraction from post-hatched Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) eggshell membranes as well as from blood samples. Using 11 microsatellite loci, DNA amplification success was 99.1% for eggshell membranes and 97.7% for blood samples. Genetic information within eggshell membrane DNA in comparison to blood DNA was not affected (F(ST) = -0.01735, P = 0.999) by degeneration or possible cross-contamination. Furthermore, neither degeneration nor cross-contamination was apparent in total genotypic comparison of eggshell membrane DNA and blood sample DNA. Our research clearly illustrates that eggshell membranes can be used for population genetic research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)915-920
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Ornithology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Limosa limosa Population genetics Microsatellite Eggshell membrane DNA quality limosa-limosa-limosa dispersal distances software dynamics Zoology


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