In Arabidopsis recombinant inbred line (RIL) populations are widely used for quantitative trait locus (QTL) analyses. However, mapping analyses with this type of population can be limited because of the masking effects of major QTL and epistatic interactions of multiple QTL. An alternative type of immortal experimental population commonly used in plant species are sets of introgression lines. Here we introduce the development of a genomewide coverage near-isogenic line (NIL) population of Arabidopsis thaliana, by introgressing genomic regions from the Cape Verde Islands (Cvi) accession into the Landsberg erecta (Ler) genetic background. We have empirically compared the QTL mapping power of this new population with an already existing RIL population derived from the same parents. For that, we analyzed and mapped QTL affecting six developmental traits with different heritability. Overall, in the NIL population smaller-effect QTL than in the RIL population could be detected although the localization resolution was lower. Furthermore, we estimated the effect of population size and of the number of replicates on the detection power of QTL affecting the developmental traits. In general, population size is more important than the number of replicates to increase the mapping power of RILs, whereas for NILs several replicates are absolutely required. These analyses are expected to facilitate experimental design for QTL mapping using these two common types of segregating populations.
- quantitative trait loci
- natural allelic variation
- chromosome substitution strains
- advanced backcross population
- controlling root-growth
- flowering time
- inflorescence development