Multiple marker mapping of quantitative trait loci in an outbred pedigree of loblolly pine
A multiple marker least squares approach is presented for the analysis of a single three-generation pedigree for quantitative trait locus (QTL) characterisation. It is an extension of the approach by Haley et al. (1994) to the situation where grandparents cannot be assumed to be homozygous at QTLs for the trait of interest. The method is applied to the analysis of wood specific gravity in loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.). Within a similar framework, a series of preliminary analyses are carried out, followed by a more detailed search of the genome for one or more QTLs. The preliminary analyses provide information about whether the contribution from each linkage group appears to be polygenic, localised to a small region (e.g. a single QTL) or oligogenic (i.e. several QTLs). Significance levels are obtained using a permutation test that uses the observed phenotypes and marker genotypes. The conclusion of these analyses is that in this pedigree single QTLs with very large effect on wood specific gravity do not appear to be segregating, although there is evidence for QTLs with small effect. Finally, in order to assess the potential power of this pedigree, we simulated QTLs within the framework of the actual marker data. As expected, QTL effects would need to be large to be reliably detected in this study, and the power to detect QTLs varies at different positions in the genome depending on the level of information in the local markers.
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