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PLoS Genet. 2014 May 8;10(5):e1004322. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004322. eCollection 2014 May.

Genetic dissection of the Drosophila melanogaster female head transcriptome reveals widespread allelic heterogeneity.

Author information

1
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Irvine, Irvine, California, United States of America.
2
Department of Molecular Biosciences, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, United States of America.
3
Department of Biology, Newman University, Wichita, Kansas, United States of America.

Abstract

Modern genetic mapping is plagued by the "missing heritability" problem, which refers to the discordance between the estimated heritabilities of quantitative traits and the variance accounted for by mapped causative variants. One major potential explanation for the missing heritability is allelic heterogeneity, in which there are multiple causative variants at each causative gene with only a fraction having been identified. The majority of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) implicitly assume that a single SNP can explain all the variance for a causative locus. However, if allelic heterogeneity is prevalent, a substantial amount of genetic variance will remain unexplained. In this paper, we take a haplotype-based mapping approach and quantify the number of alleles segregating at each locus using a large set of 7922 eQTL contributing to regulatory variation in the Drosophila melanogaster female head. Not only does this study provide a comprehensive eQTL map for a major community genetic resource, the Drosophila Synthetic Population Resource, but it also provides a direct test of the allelic heterogeneity hypothesis. We find that 95% of cis-eQTLs and 78% of trans-eQTLs are due to multiple alleles, demonstrating that allelic heterogeneity is widespread in Drosophila eQTL. Allelic heterogeneity likely contributes significantly to the missing heritability problem common in GWAS studies.

PMID:
24810915
PMCID:
PMC4014434
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pgen.1004322
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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