The genetics of quantitative traits: challenges and prospects

Nat Rev Genet. 2009 Aug;10(8):565-77. doi: 10.1038/nrg2612.


A major challenge in current biology is to understand the genetic basis of variation for quantitative traits. We review the principles of quantitative trait locus mapping and summarize insights about the genetic architecture of quantitative traits that have been obtained over the past decades. We are currently in the midst of a genomic revolution, which enables us to incorporate genetic variation in transcript abundance and other intermediate molecular phenotypes into a quantitative trait locus mapping framework. This systems genetics approach enables us to understand the biology inside the 'black box' that lies between genotype and phenotype in terms of causal networks of interacting genes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Genetic Linkage*
  • Humans
  • Quantitative Trait, Heritable*