Saccharomyces cerevisiae has become a favorite production organism in industrial biotechnology presenting new challenges to yeast engineers in terms of introducing advantageous traits such as stress tolerances. Exploring subspecies diversity of S. cerevisiae has identified strains that bear industrially relevant phenotypic traits. Provided that the genetic basis of such phenotypic traits can be identified inverse engineering allows the targeted modification of production strains. Most phenotypic traits of interest in S. cerevisiae strains are quantitative, meaning that they are controlled by multiple genetic loci referred to as quantitative trait loci (QTL). A straightforward approach to identify the genetic basis of quantitative traits is QTL mapping which aims at the allocation of the genetic determinants to regions in the genome. The application of high-density oligonucleotide arrays and whole-genome re-sequencing to detect genetic variations between strains has facilitated the detection of large numbers of molecular markers thus allowing high-resolution QTL mapping over the entire genome. This review focuses on the basic principle and state of the art of QTL mapping in S. cerevisiae. Furthermore we discuss several approaches developed during the last decade that allow down-scaling of the regions identified by QTL mapping to the gene level. We also emphasize the particular challenges of QTL mapping in nonlaboratory strains of S. cerevisiae.
© 2011 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.