Codominant scoring of AFLP in association panels

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A study on the codominant scoring of AFLP markers in association panels without prior knowledge on genotype probabilities is described. Bands are scored codominantly by fitting normal mixture models to band intensities, illustrating and optimizing existing methodology, which employs the EM-algorithm. We study features that improve the performance of the algorithm, and the unmixing in general, like parameter initialization, restrictions on parameters, data transformation, and outlier removal. Parameter restrictions include equal component variances, equal or nearly equal distances between component means, and mixing probabilities according to Hardy–Weinberg Equilibrium. Histogram visualization of band intensities with superimposed normal densities, and optional classification scores and other grouping information, assists further in the codominant scoring. We find empirical evidence favoring the square root transformation of the band intensity, as was found in segregating populations. Our approach provides posterior genotype probabilities for marker loci. These probabilities can form the basis for association mapping and are more useful than the standard scoring categories A, H, B, C, D. They can also be used to calculate predictors for additive and dominance effects. Diagnostics for data quality of AFLP markers are described: preference for three-component mixture model, good separation between component means, and lack of singletons for the component with highest mean. Software has been developed in R, containing the models for normal mixtures with facilitating features, and visualizations. The methods are applied to an association panel in tomato, comprising 1,175 polymorphic markers on 94 tomato hybrids, as part of a larger study within the Dutch Centre for BioSystems Genomics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-351
JournalTheoretical and Applied Genetics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • likelihood ratio test
  • normal mixture
  • collision probabilities
  • em approach
  • markers
  • model
  • information


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