, Volume 124, Issue 6, pp 1097-1113,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 07 Jan 2012

QTL linkage analysis of connected populations using ancestral marker and pedigree information


The common assumption in quantitative trait locus (QTL) linkage mapping studies that parents of multiple connected populations are unrelated is unrealistic for many plant breeding programs. We remove this assumption and propose a Bayesian approach that clusters the alleles of the parents of the current mapping populations from locus-specific identity by descent (IBD) matrices that capture ancestral marker and pedigree information. Moreover, we demonstrate how the parental IBD data can be incorporated into a QTL linkage analysis framework by using two approaches: a Threshold IBD model (TIBD) and a Latent Ancestral Allele Model (LAAM). The TIBD and LAAM models are empirically tested via numerical simulation based on the structure of a commercial maize breeding program. The simulations included a pilot dataset with closely linked QTL on a single linkage group and 100 replicated datasets with five linkage groups harboring four unlinked QTL. The simulation results show that including parental IBD data (similarly for TIBD and LAAM) significantly improves the power and particularly accuracy of QTL mapping, e.g., position, effect size and individuals’ genotype probability without significantly increasing computational demand.

Communicated by M. Frisch.