Genome-wide association studies and the problem of relatedness among advanced intercross lines and other highly recombinant populations

Genetics. 2010 Jul;185(3):1033-44. doi: 10.1534/genetics.110.116863. Epub 2010 May 3.


Model organisms offer many advantages for the genetic analysis of complex traits. However, identification of specific genes is often hampered by a lack of recombination between the genomes of inbred progenitors. Recently, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in humans have offered gene-level mapping resolution that is possible because of the large number of accumulated recombinations among unrelated human subjects. To obtain analogous improvements in mapping resolution in mice, we used a 34th generation advanced intercross line (AIL) derived from two inbred strains (SM/J and LG/J). We used simulations to show that familial relationships among subjects must be accounted for when analyzing these data; we then used a mixed model that included polygenic effects to address this problem in our own analysis. Using a combination of F(2) and AIL mice derived from the same inbred progenitors, we identified genome-wide significant, subcentimorgan loci that were associated with methamphetamine sensitivity, (e.g., chromosome 18; LOD = 10.5) and non-drug-induced locomotor activity (e.g., chromosome 8; LOD = 18.9). The 2-LOD support interval for the former locus contains no known genes while the latter contains only one gene (Csmd1). This approach is broadly applicable in terms of phenotypes and model organisms and allows GWAS to be performed in multigenerational crosses between and among inbred strains where familial relatedness is often unavoidable.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Chromosome Mapping*
  • Chromosomes, Mammalian / genetics*
  • Computational Biology
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Genome / genetics*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Phenotype
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Quantitative Trait Loci / genetics*
  • Recombination, Genetic*