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Alcohol Res Health. 2008;31(3):266-9.

Interval-specific congenic animals for high-resolution quantitative trait loci mapping.

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Neuroscience Graduate Program, Portland VA Medical Center and Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon.


Behavioral phenotypes (e.g., drug responses and withdrawal) are typically quantitative traits-characteristics that differ along a spectrum in the extent to which an individual possesses that characteristic. Such traits are determined by multiple genes, as well as by environmental factors and interactions among genes and environmental factors. The chromosomal regions containing these genes are commonly referred to as quantitative trait loci (QTLs). As described in the preceding article by Hitzemann and colleagues (pp. 270- 271), researchers have developed a variety of strategies to attain greater precision when mapping QTLs (Darvasi 1998; Talbot et al. 1999), which is necessary for unbiased genomewide approaches such as QTL mapping to be successful in ultimately identifying which gene(s) underlies a QTL's phenotypic influence. Among these, some approaches are clearly superior for fine mapping QTLs associated with behavioral traits. One such strategy employs specially bred animals known as interval-specific congenics (ISCs) (sometimes called small donor segment congenics). This article introduces the use of these animals in mapping QTLs associated with certain responses to alcohol.

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