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Mol Genet Genomics. 2007 Jun;277(6):663-72. Epub 2007 Feb 22.

Whole-genome linkage disequilibrium screening for complex traits in horses.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, Laboratory of Racing Chemistry, 1731-2 Tsurutamachi, Utsunomiya, Tochigi 320-0851, Japan.


The identification of candidate genes for significant traits is crucial. In this study, we developed and tested effective and systematic methods based on linkage disequilibrium (LD) for the identification of candidate regions for genes with Mendelian inheritance and those associated with complex traits. Our approach entailed the combination of primary screening using pooled DNA samples based on DeltaTAC, secondary screening using an individual typing method and tertiary screening using a permutation test based on the differences in the haplotype frequency between two neighbouring microsatellites. This series of methods was evaluated using horse coat colour traits (chestnut/non-chestnut) as a simple Mendelian inheritance model. In addition, the methods were evaluated using a complex trait model constructed by mixing samples from chestnut and non-chestnut horses. Using both models, the methods could detect the expected regions for the horse coat colour trait. The results revealed that LD extends up to several centimorgans in horses, indicating that whole-genome LD screening in horses could be performed systematically and efficiently by combining the above-mentioned methods. Since genetic maps based on microsatellites have been constructed for many other species, the approaches present here could have wide applicability.

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