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Am J Phys Anthropol. 1999;Suppl 29:127-51.

Quantitative trait linkage mapping in anthropology.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, San Antonio, Texas 78245, USA.


Recent years have seen rapid progress in several areas of both biomedical and anthropological genetics. While genetic analyses have come to play a significant role in biological anthropology, there has been little use of modern methods for linkage mapping of quantitative trait loci (QTLs). It is now feasible to design research studies to investigate the quantitative genetics of complex phenotypes that are of primary importance to traditional questions in biological anthropology. Complex traits such as functionally significant morphological features, physiological characteristics or aspects of behavior can be examined to estimate the influence of genetic variation on within-species phenotypic variation. In addition, new methods for mapping quantitative trait loci provide opportunities to identify the regions within chromosomes that contain the functional genes of interest. This review summarizes molecular genetic and statistical genetic approaches to QTL mapping, and presents examples of how this approach can expand the scope of anthropological genetics to include mapping and identifying individual genes that influence complex phenotypic traits relevant to fundamental questions in biological anthropology.

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