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Nat Genet. 1999 Mar;21(3):305-8.

High-resolution mapping of quantitative trait loci in outbred mice.

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Institute of Molecular Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK.


Screening the whole genome of a cross between two inbred animal strains has proved to be a powerful method for detecting genetic loci underlying quantitative behavioural traits, but the level of resolution offered by quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping is still too coarse to permit molecular cloning of the genetic determinants. To achieve high-resolution mapping, we used an outbred stock of mice for which the entire genealogy is known. The heterogeneous stock (HS) was established 30 years ago from an eight-way cross of C57BL/6, BALB/c, RIII, AKR, DBA/2, I, A/J and C3H inbred mouse strains. At the time of the experiment reported here, the HS mice were at generation 58, theoretically offering at least a 30-fold increase in resolution for QTL mapping compared with a backcross or an F2 intercross. Using the HS mice we have mapped a QTL influencing a psychological trait in mice to a 0.8-cM interval on chromosome 1. This method allows simultaneous fine mapping of multiple QTLs, as shown by our report of a second QTL on chromosome 12. The high resolution possible with this approach makes QTLs accessible to positional cloning.

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