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Genetics. 1994 May; 137(1): 289–301.
PMCID: PMC1205945

Quantitative Trait Loci Underlying Gene Product Variation: A Novel Perspective for Analyzing Regulation of Genome Expression


A methodology to dissect the genetic architecture of quantitative variation of numerous gene products simultaneously is proposed. For each individual of a segregating progeny, proteins extracted from a given organ are separated using two-dimensional electrophoresis, and their amounts are estimated with a computer-assisted system for spot quantification. Provided a complete genetic map is available, statistical procedures allow determination of the number, effects and chromosomal locations of factors controlling the amounts of individual proteins. This approach was applied to anonymous proteins of etiolated coleoptiles of maize, in an F(2) progeny between two distant lines. The genetic map included both restriction fragment length polymorphism and protein markers. Minimum estimates of one to five unlinked regulatory factors were found for 42 of the 72 proteins analyzed, with a large diversity of effects. Dominance and epistasis interactions were involved in the control of 38% and 14% of the 72 proteins, respectively. Such a methodology might help understanding the architecture of regulatory networks and the possible adaptive or phenotypic significance of the polymorphism of the genes involved.

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