New alleles are constantly accumulated during intentional crop selection. The molecular understanding of these alleles has stimulated new genomic approaches to mapping quantitative trait loci (QTL) and haplotype multiplicity of the genes concerned. A limited number of quantitative trait nucleotides responsible for QTL variation have been described, but an acceleration in their rate of discovery is expected with the adoption of linkage disequilibrium and candidate gene strategies for QTL fine mapping and cloning. Additional layers of regulatory variation have been studied that could also contribute to the molecular basis of quantitative genetics of crop traits. Despite this progress, the role of marker-assisted selection in plant breeding will ultimately depend on the genetic model underlying quantitative variation.