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Nat Rev Genet. 2006 Mar;7(3):229-37.

Functional mapping - how to map and study the genetic architecture of dynamic complex traits.

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  • 1School of Forestry and Biotechnology, Zhejiang Forestry University, Lin'an, Zhejiang 311300, People's Republic of China.


The development of any organism is a complex dynamic process that is controlled by a network of genes as well as by environmental factors. Traditional mapping approaches for analysing phenotypic data measured at a single time point are too simple to reveal the genetic control of developmental processes. A general statistical mapping framework, called functional mapping, has been proposed to characterize, in a single step, the quantitative trait loci (QTLs) or nucleotides (QTNs) that underlie a complex dynamic trait. Functional mapping estimates mathematical parameters that describe the developmental mechanisms of trait formation and expression for each QTL or QTN. The approach provides a useful quantitative and testable framework for assessing the interplay between gene actions or interactions and developmental changes.

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