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Heredity (Edinb). 1998 Feb;80 ( Pt 2):137-42.

QTL analysis in plants; where are we now?

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School of Biological Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK.


We have briefly reviewed the methods currently available for QTL analysis in segregating populations and summarized some of the conclusions arising from such analyses in plant populations. We show that the analytical methods locate QTL with poor precision (10-30 cM), unless the heritability of an individual QTL is high. Also the estimates of the QTL effects, particularly the dominance effects tend to be inflated because only large estimates are significant. Estimates of numbers of QTL per trait are generally low (< 8) for individual trials. This may suggest that there are few QTL but probably reflects the power of the methods. There is no large correlation between the numbers of QTL found and the amount of the variation explained. Of those cases where dominance is measurable, dominance ratios are often > 1, but seldom significantly greater. These latter cases need further analysis. Many QTL map close to candidate genes, and there is growing evidence from synteny studies of corresponding chromosome regions carrying similar QTL in different species. However, unreliability of QTL location may suggest false candidates.

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