Linkage analysis of quantitative trait loci in multiple line crosses

Genetica. 2002 Apr;114(3):217-30. doi: 10.1023/a:1016296225065.


Simple line crosses, for example, backcross and F2, are commonly used in mapping quantitative trait loci (QTL). However, these simple crosses are rarely used alone in commercial plant breeding; rather, crosses involving multiple inbred lines or several simple crosses but connected by shared inbred lines may be common in plant breeding. Mapping QTL using crosses of multiple lines is more relevant to plant breeding. Unfortunately, current statistical methods and computer programs of QTL mapping are all designed for simple line crosses or multiple line crosses but under a regular mating system. It is not straightforward to extend the existing methods to handle multiple line crosses under irregular and complicated mating designs. The major hurdle comes from irregular inbreeding, multiple generations, and multiple alleles. In this study, we develop a Bayesian method implemented via the Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithm for mapping QTL using complicated multiple line crosses. With the MCMC algorithm, we are able to draw a complete path of the gene flow from founder alleles to their descendents via a recursive process. This has greatly simplified the problem caused by irregular mating and inbreeding in the mapping population. Adopting the reversible jump MCMC algorithm, we are able to simultaneously search for multiple QTL along the genome. We can even infer the posterior distribution of the number of QTL, one of the most important parameters in QTL study. Application of the new MCMC based QTL mapping procedure is demonstrated using two different mating designs. Design I involves two inbred lines and their derived F1, F2, and BC populations. Design II is a half-diallel cross involving three inbred lines. The two designs appear different, but can be handled with the same robust computer program.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Chromosome Mapping / methods*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Genetic Markers
  • Models, Genetic
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*


  • Genetic Markers