Guidelines for genetic data analysis

Robin S. Waples*, A. Rus Hoelzel, Oscar Gaggiotti, Ralph Tiedemann, Per J. Palsbøll, Frank Cipriano, Jennifer Jackson, John W. Bickham, Aimée R. Lang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


The IWC Scientific Committee recently adopted guidelines for quality control of DNA data. Once data have been collected, the next step is to analyse the data and make inferences that are useful for addressing practical problems in conservation and management of cetaceans. This is a complex exercise, as numerous analyses are possible and users have a wide range of choices of software programs for implementing the analyses. This paper reviews the underlying issues, illustrates application of different types of genetic data analysis to two complex management problems (involving common minke whales and humpback whales), and concludes with a number of recommendations for best practices in the analysis of population genetic data. An extensive Appendix provides a detailed review and critique of most types of analyses that are used with population genetic data for cetaceans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-80
Number of pages48
JournalJournal of Cetacean Research and Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • Abundance estimate
  • Breeding grounds
  • Conservation
  • DNA fingerprinting
  • Feeding grounds
  • Genetics
  • Humpback whale
  • Migration
  • Minke whale
  • Reproduction
  • Taxonomy


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