From complex traits to complex alleles

Trends Genet. 1999 Jan;15(1):6-8. doi: 10.1016/s0168-9525(98)01622-9.


Several recent studies using natural populations of Drosophila show that one must be very careful when sorting among the large number of molecular polymorphisms found at most loci to identify the nucleotide changes responsible for phenotypic variation in complex traits. Indeed, several mutations within a single allele can interact to generate the overall observed effect. The results are instructive both for those interested in the genetics of evolutionary change and for those attempting to ferret out the genetic basis of complex human diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alleles*
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Chromosome Mapping*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology
  • Female
  • Genes, Insect*
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / genetics
  • Genetic Heterogeneity*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / genetics
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology
  • Phenotype
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Quantitative Trait, Heritable*


  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • delta protein