, 136:351 | Cite as

Whole genome approaches to quantitative genetics

  • Peter M. VisscherEmail author


Apart from parent-offspring pairs and clones, relative pairs vary in the proportion of the genome that they share identical by descent. In the past, quantitative geneticists have used the expected value of sharing genes by descent to estimate genetic parameters and predict breeding values. With the possibility to genotype individuals for many markers across the genome it is now possible to empirically estimate the actual relationship between relatives. We review some of the theory underlying the variation in genetic identity, show applications to estimating genetic variance for height in humans and discuss other applications.


Quantitative genetics Genome Identity-by-descent Estimation Genetic variance Actual relationship Realised relationship 



We acknowledge support from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (grants 389892 and 442915) and the Australian Research Council (grant DP0770096), and thank Bill Hill, Mike Goddard, Nick Martin and Naomi Wray for many stimulating discussions and two referees for helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queensland Institute of Medical ResearchBrisbaneAustralia

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