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Am J Hum Genet. 1995 May;56(5):1212-23.

High-resolution genetic mapping of complex traits.

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  • 1Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, MA 02142-1479, USA.

Erratum in

  • Am J Hum Genet 1996 Apr;58(4):902.


Positional cloning requires high-resolution genetic mapping. To plan a positional cloning project, one needs to know how many informative meioses will be required to narrow the search for a disease gene to an acceptably small region. For a simple Mendelian trait studied with linkage analysis, the answer is straightforward. In this paper, we address the situation of a complex trait studied with affected-relative-pair methods. We derive mathematical formulas for the size of an appropriate confidence region, as a function of the relative risk attributable to the gene. Using these results, we provide graphs showing the number of relative pairs required to narrow the gene hunt to an interval of a given size. For example, we show that localizing a gene to 1 cM requires a median of 200 sib pairs for a locus causing a fivefold increased risk to an offspring and 700 sib pairs for a locus causing a twofold increased risk. We discuss the implications of these results for the positional cloning of genes underlying complex traits.

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