Functional mapping - how to map and study the genetic architecture of dynamic complex traits

Nat Rev Genet. 2006 Mar;7(3):229-37. doi: 10.1038/nrg1804.


The development of any organism is a complex dynamic process that is controlled by a network of genes as well as by environmental factors. Traditional mapping approaches for analysing phenotypic data measured at a single time point are too simple to reveal the genetic control of developmental processes. A general statistical mapping framework, called functional mapping, has been proposed to characterize, in a single step, the quantitative trait loci (QTLs) or nucleotides (QTNs) that underlie a complex dynamic trait. Functional mapping estimates mathematical parameters that describe the developmental mechanisms of trait formation and expression for each QTL or QTN. The approach provides a useful quantitative and testable framework for assessing the interplay between gene actions or interactions and developmental changes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosome Mapping* / methods
  • Chromosome Mapping* / trends
  • Embryonic Development / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Quantitative Trait Loci / genetics*