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Genetics. Dec 2003; 165(4): 2259–2268.
PMCID: PMC1462909

Theoretical basis of the Beavis effect.

Abstract

The core of statistical inference is based on both hypothesis testing and estimation. The use of inferential statistics for QTL identification thus includes estimation of genetic effects and statistical tests. Typically, QTL are reported only when the test statistics reach a predetermined critical value. Therefore, the estimated effects of detected QTL are actually sampled from a truncated distribution. As a result, the expectations of detected QTL effects are biased upward. In a simulation study, William D. Beavis showed that the average estimates of phenotypic variances associated with correctly identified QTL were greatly overestimated if only 100 progeny were evaluated, slightly overestimated if 500 progeny were evaluated, and fairly close to the actual magnitude when 1000 progeny were evaluated. This phenomenon has subsequently been called the Beavis effect. Understanding the theoretical basis of the Beavis effect will help interpret QTL mapping results and improve success of marker-assisted selection. This study provides a statistical explanation for the Beavis effect. The theoretical prediction agrees well with the observations reported in Beavis's original simulation study. Application of the theory to meta-analysis of QTL mapping is discussed.

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Selected References

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