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Population genetic studies are driven by DNA sampling, and blood sampling has historically been the preferred method for obtaining DNA.

Less invasive buccal swabbing is gaining in popularity, but collection kits are expensive and until now, swabbing protocols have not been efficiently adapted to field settings. Researchers developed an efficient, cost-effective, and field-friendly protocol for sampling wild birds by comparing DNA yield among three inexpensive buccal swab types. Foam-tipped swabs provided higher DNA yields than cotton-tipped swabs, and storing swabs in Longmire buffer instead of performing a lengthy drying step increased efficiency in the field while still yielding sufficient amounts of DNA. This new field protocol allows time- and cost-effective DNA sampling of juveniles or small-bodied birds for which drawing blood may cause unnecessary stress.

Vilstrup, J.T., Mullins, T.D., Miller, M.P., McDearman, W., Walters, J.R., Haig, S.M., 2018, A simplified field protocol for genetic sampling of birds using buccal swabs: The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, https://doi.org/10.1676/16-105.1.

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