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Genetics. 2001 Apr;157(4):1789-803.

Enhanced efficiency of quantitative trait loci mapping analysis based on multivariate complexes of quantitative traits.

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Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, Haifa 31905, Israel.


An approach to increase the efficiency of mapping quantitative trait loci (QTL) was proposed earlier by the authors on the basis of bivariate analysis of correlated traits. The power of QTL detection using the log-likelihood ratio (LOD scores) grows proportionally to the broad sense heritability. We found that this relationship holds also for correlated traits, so that an increased bivariate heritability implicates a higher LOD score, higher detection power, and better mapping resolution. However, the increased number of parameters to be estimated complicates the application of this approach when a large number of traits are considered simultaneously. Here we present a multivariate generalization of our previous two-trait QTL analysis. The proposed multivariate analogue of QTL contribution to the broad-sense heritability based on interval-specific calculation of eigenvalues and eigenvectors of the residual covariance matrix allows prediction of the expected QTL detection power and mapping resolution for any subset of the initial multivariate trait complex. Permutation technique allows chromosome-wise testing of significance for the whole trait complex and the significance of the contribution of individual traits owing to: (a) their correlation with other traits, (b) dependence on the chromosome in question, and (c) both a and b. An example of application of the proposed method on a real data set of 11 traits from an experiment performed on an F(2)/F(3) mapping population of tetraploid wheat (Triticum durum x T. dicoccoides) is provided.

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