An IBD-based mixed model approach for QTL mapping in multiparental populations

Wenhao Li, Martin P. Boer, Chaozhi Zheng, Ronny V.L. Joosen, Fred A. van Eeuwijk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Key message: The identity-by-descent (IBD)-based mixed model approach introduced in this study can detect quantitative trait loci (QTLs) referring to the parental origin and simultaneously account for multilevel relatedness of individuals within and across families. This unified approach is proved to be a powerful approach for all kinds of multiparental population (MPP) designs. Abstract: Multiparental populations (MPPs) have become popular for quantitative trait loci (QTL) detection. Tools for QTL mapping in MPPs are mostly developed for specific MPPs and do not generalize well to other MPPs. We present an IBD-based mixed model approach for QTL mapping in all kinds of MPP designs, e.g., diallel, Nested Association Mapping (NAM), and Multiparental Advanced Generation Intercross (MAGIC) designs. The first step is to compute identity-by-descent (IBD) probabilities using a general Hidden Markov model framework, called reconstructing ancestry blocks bit by bit (RABBIT). Next, functions of IBD information are used as design matrices, or genetic predictors, in a mixed model approach to estimate variance components for multiallelic genetic effects associated with parents. Family-specific residual genetic effects are added, and a polygenic effect is structured by kinship relations between individuals. Case studies of simulated diallel, NAM, and MAGIC designs proved that the advanced IBD-based multi-QTL mixed model approach incorporating both kinship relations and family-specific residual variances (IBD.MQMkin_F) is robust across a variety of MPP designs and allele segregation patterns in comparison to a widely used benchmark association mapping method, and in most cases, outperformed or behaved at least as well as other tools developed for specific MPP designs in terms of mapping power and resolution. Successful analyses of real data cases confirmed the wide applicability of our IBD-based mixed model methodology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3643-3660
JournalTheoretical and Applied Genetics
Issue number11
Early online date3 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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