Quantitative geneticists have become interested in the heritability of transcription and detection of expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs). Linkage mapping methods have identified major-effect eQTLs for some transcripts and have shown that regulatory polymorphisms in cis and in trans affect expression. It is also clear that these mapping strategies have little power to detect polygenic factors, and some new statistical approaches are emerging that paint a more complex picture of transcriptional heritability. Several studies imply pervasive non-additivity of transcription, transgressive segregation and epistasis, and future studies will soon document the extent of genotype-environment interaction and population structure at the transcriptional level. The implications of these findings for genotype-phenotype mapping and modeling the evolution of transcription are discussed.