Structural model analysis of multiple quantitative traits

PLoS Genet. 2006 Jul;2(7):e114. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.0020114. Epub 2006 Jun 7.


We introduce a method for the analysis of multilocus, multitrait genetic data that provides an intuitive and precise characterization of genetic architecture. We show that it is possible to infer the magnitude and direction of causal relationships among multiple correlated phenotypes and illustrate the technique using body composition and bone density data from mouse intercross populations. Using these techniques we are able to distinguish genetic loci that affect adiposity from those that affect overall body size and thus reveal a shortcoming of standardized measures such as body mass index that are widely used in obesity research. The identification of causal networks sheds light on the nature of genetic heterogeneity and pleiotropy in complex genetic systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Body Composition
  • Bone Density
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genomics / methods*
  • Mice
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Models, Statistical
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Quantitative Trait Loci / genetics*
  • Species Specificity