Genetic data are useful for estimating the genealogical relationship or relatedness between individuals of unknown ancestry. ML-Relate is a computer program that calculates maximum likelihood estimates of relatedness and relationship. ML-Relate is designed for microsatellite data, and can accommodate null alleles. It uses simulation to perform two types of hypothesis tests.


Please see the following manuscript for a description of ML-Relate:

pdfKalinowski ST, AP Wagner, ML Taper (2006). ML-Relate: a computer program for maximum likelihood estimation of relatedness and relationship. Molecular Ecology Notes 6:576-579.

Input files

ML-Relate should read GENEPOP files (either 4 or 6 digit format). There are currently two GENEPOP formats. ML-Relate follows the online format--sample names are read by the first individual in the sample. Alternatively, sample names can be placed after the POP delimiter.

Input files can have either one or two POP's (to use the GENEPOP term) in them. If the file has one POP, ML-Relate will estimate allele frequencies in the population from the individuals whose relatedness is being estimated. If the file has two POP's the first POP will be used to estimate allele frequencies and the second POP should contain the individuals to analzye. See the user's manual for more details.


ML-Relate runs on the Microsoft Windows operating system that has the .NET platform installed. See my Software page for instructions on how to install this on your computer (it may already be there).

Click here to download a ZIP file containing ML-Relate and a library of functions (kalinowski_library.dll) that the program needs. A sample data file is available here.

User's Manual

A user's manual is available as pdf or as a webpage.

Installation / UnInstallation

To "install," place ML-Relate.exe and kalinowski_library.dll in a folder. Click on ML-Relate.exe to run. Delete both files to "uninstall."