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Genetics. 2008 Oct;180(2):1167-75. doi: 10.1534/genetics.108.092551. Epub 2008 Sep 9.

On the detection of imprinted quantitative trait loci in line crosses: effect of linkage disequilibrium.

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Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Liège, 4000-Liège, Belgium.


Imprinted quantitative trait loci (QTL) are commonly reported in studies using line-cross designs, especially in livestock species. It was previously shown that such parent-of-origin effects might result from the nonfixation of QTL alleles in one or both parental lines, rather than from genuine molecular parental imprinting. We herein demonstrate that if linkage disequilibrium exists between marker loci and nonfixed QTL, spurious detection of pseudo-imprinting is increased by an additional 40-80% in scenarios mimicking typical livestock situations. This is due to the fact that imprinting can be tested only in F(2) offspring whose sire and dam have distinct marker genotypes. In the case of linkage disequilibrium between markers and QTL, such parents have a higher chance to have distinct QTL genotypes as well, thus resulting in distinct padumnal and madumnal allele substitution effects, i.e., QTL pseudo-imprinting.

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