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Remote-sampling DNA from animals offers obvious benefits for species that are difficult to sample directly and is less disruptive for species of conservation concern. Here we report the results of a pilot study investigating non-invasive DNA sampling of the grey-headed flying-fox (Pteropus poliocephalus), a threatened species that is restricted to the east coast of Australia. We successfully extracted DNA from fresh scats and hair, each of which was of sufficient quality for amplifying mitochondrial DNA markers and microsatellites. A single-locus multitube approach was used to investigate amplification success and genotyping reliability. Faecal samples yielded a higher proportion of successful amplifications and consensus genotype assignments than hair samples. We outline measures that may be utilised to minimise microsatellite genotyping error for future studies. These indirect approaches to obtaining genetic data show much promise given the difficult nature of directly sampling flying-foxes and related species.


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