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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2004 Jun;14(3):253-7.

The genetic architecture of quantitative traits: lessons from Drosophila.

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  • Department of Genetics, Campus Box 7614, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695-7614, USA. trudy_mackay@ncsu.edu


Understanding the genetic architecture of quantitative traits begins with identifying the genes regulating these traits, mapping the subset of genetically varying quantitative trait loci (QTLs) in natural populations, and pinpointing the molecular polymorphisms defining QTL alleles. Studies in Drosophila have revealed large numbers of pleiotropic genes that interact epistatically to regulate quantitative traits, and large numbers of QTLs with sex-, environment- and genotype-specific effects. Multiple molecular polymorphisms in regulatory regions of candidate genes are often associated with variation for complex traits. These observations offer valuable lessons for understanding the genetic basis of variation for complex traits in other organisms, including humans.

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