Mapping multiple QTL of different effects: comparison of a simple sequential testing strategy and MQM

P.M. Visscher, C.S. Haley, J. Whittaker, R.C. Jansen

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    5 Citations (Scopus)


    The aim of this study was to explore, by computer simulation, the mapping of QTLs in a realistic but complex situation of many (linked) QTLs with different effects, and to compare two QTL mapping methods. A novel method to dissect genetic variation on multiple chromosomes using molecular markers in backcross and F2 populations derived from inbred lines was suggested, and its properties tested using simulations. The rationale for this sequential testing method was to explicitly test for alternative genetic models. The method consists of a series of four basic statistical tests to decide whether variance was due to a single QTL, two QTLs, multiple QTLs, or polygenes, starting with a test to detect genetic variance associated with a particular chromosome. The method was able to distinguish between different QTL configurations, in that the probability to `detect' the correct model was high, varying from 0.75 to 1. For example, for a backcross population of 200 and an overall heritability of 50%, in 78% of replicates a polygenic model was detected when that was the underlying true model. To test the method for multiple chromosomes, QTLs were simulated on 10 chromosomes, following a geometric series of allele effects, assuming positive alleles were in coupling in the founder lines For these simulations, the sequential testing method was compared to the established Multiple QTL Mapping (MQM) method. For a backcross population of 400 individuals, power to detect genetic variance was low with both methods when the heritability was 0.40. For example, the power to detect genetic variation on a chromosome on which 6 QTLs explained 12.6% of the genetic variance, was less than 60% for both methods. For a large heritability (0.90), the power of MQM to detect genetic variance and to dissect QTL configurations was generally better, due to the simultaneous fitting of markers on all chromosomes. It is concluded that when testing different QTL configurations on a single chromosome using the sequential testing procedure, regions of other chromosomes which explain a significant amount of variation should be fitted in the model of analysis. This study reinforces the need for large experiments in plants and other species if the aim of a genome scan is to dissect quantitative genetic variation
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)11-24
    JournalMolecular Breeding
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


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