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Heredity (Edinb). 2006 Jul;97(1):19-26. Epub 2006 May 10.

Power of QTL mapping experiments in commercial Atlantic salmon populations, exploiting linkage and linkage disequilibrium and effect of limited recombination in males.

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AKVAFORSK, Institute for Aquaculture Research, PO 5010, 1432 As, Norway.


Whereas detection and positioning of genes that affect quantitative traits (quantitative trait loci (QTL)) using linkage mapping uses only information from recombinants in the genotyped generations, linkage disequilibrium (LD) mapping uses historical recombinants. Thus, whereas linkage mapping requires large family sizes to detect and accurately position QTL, LD mapping is more dependent on the number of families sampled from the population. In commercial Atlantic salmon breeding programmes, only a small number of individuals per family are routinely phenotyped for traits such as disease resistance and meat colour. In this paper, we assess the power and accuracy of combined linkage disequilibrium linkage analysis (LDLA) to detect QTL in the commercial population using simulation. When 15 half-sib sire families (each sire mated to 30 dams, each dam with 10 progeny) were sampled from the population for genotyping, we were able to detect a QTL explaining 10% of the phenotypic variance in 85% of replicates and position this QTL within 3 cM of the true position in 70% of replicates. When recombination was absent in males, a feature of the salmon genome, power to detect QTL increased; however, the accuracy of positioning the QTL was decreased. By increasing the number of sire families sampled from the population to be genotyped to 30, we were able to increase both the proportion of QTL detected and correctly positioned (even with no recombination in males). QTL with much smaller effect could also be detected. The results suggest that even with the existing recording structure in commercial salmon breeding programmes, there is considerable power to detect and accurately position QTL using LDLA.

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