This study demonstrates that cDNA-AFLP is a powerful gel-based genome-scale transcript profiling technique to generate quantitative gene expression profiles for eQTL mapping. We used cDNA-AFLP to monitor the relative abundance of 912 transcripts across 50 Arabidopsis thaliana recombinant inbred lines. Estimates for heritability of cDNA-AFLP intensity polymorphisms were high, with a median of 0.30 and an interquartile range of 0.21-0.44. A total of 198 expression polymorphisms were significantly linked to specific chromosomal regions (P < 0.05). Both cis- and trans-acting loci correlated with the variation in gene expression levels were found. Some of the trans-acting loci correlated to multiple expression polymorphisms, suggesting trans-acting alleles with widespread transcriptional effects. Here, we have illustrated that cDNA-AFLP constitutes a powerful transcript profiling method that can be utilized for 'multifactorial genomics' analysis of any plant or animal species for which segregating populations and molecular marker maps are available.