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Genetics. 1998 May;149(1):383-403.

Quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping using different testers and independent population samples in maize reveals low power of QTL detection and large bias in estimates of QTL effects.

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Institute of Plant Breeding, Seed Science and Population Genetics, University of Hohenheim, 70593 Stuttgart, Germany.


The efficiency of marker-assisted selection (MAS) depends on the power of quantitative trait locus (QTL) detection and unbiased estimation of QTL effects. Two independent samples N = 344 and 107 of F2 plants were genotyped for 89 RFLP markers. For each sample, testcross (TC) progenies of the corresponding F3 lines with two testers were evaluated in four environments. QTL for grain yield and other agronomically important traits were mapped in both samples. QTL effects were estimated from the same data as used for detection and mapping of QTL (calibration) and, based on QTL positions from calibration, from the second, independent sample (validation). For all traits and both testers we detected a total of 107 QTL with N = 344, and 39 QTL with N = 107, of which only 20 were in common. Consistency of QTL effects across testers was in agreement with corresponding genotypic correlations between the two TC series. Most QTL displayed no significant QTL x environment nor epistatic interactions. Estimates of the proportion of the phenotypic and genetic variance explained by QTL were considerably reduced when derived from the independent validation sample as opposed to estimates from the calibration sample. We conclude that, unless QTL effects are estimated from an independent sample, they can be inflated, resulting in an overly optimistic assessment of the efficiency of MAS.

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