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Bioessays. 2010 Feb;32(2):132-42. doi: 10.1002/bies.200900027.

Interspecific resources: a major tool for quantitative trait locus cloning and speciation research.

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  • 1INSERM, U567, Institut Cochin, Paris, France.


Positional cloning of the quantitative trait locus (QTL) still encounters numerous difficulties, which explains why thousands of QTL have been mapped, while only a few have been identified at the molecular level. Here, we focus on a specific mapping tool that exists in plant and animal model species: interspecific recombinant congenic strains (IRCSs) or interspecific nearly isogenic lines (NILs). Such panels exhibit a much higher sequence diversity than intraspecific sets, thus enhancing the contrasts between phenotypes. In animals, it allows statistical significance to be reached even when using a limited number of individuals. Therefore, we argue that interspecific resources may constitute a major genetic tool for positional cloning and for understanding some bases of speciation mechanisms.

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