Background: While the genetics of diploid inheritance are well studied and software for linkage mapping, haplotyping and QTL analysis are available, for tetraploids the available tools are limited. In order to develop such tools it would be helpful if simulated populations based on a variety of models of the tetraploid meiosis would be available.
Results: Here we present PedigreeSim, a software package that simulates meiosis in both diploid and tetraploid species and uses this to simulate pedigrees and cross populations. For tetraploids a variety of models can be used, including both bivalent and quadrivalent formation, varying degrees of preferential pairing of hom(oe)ologous chromosomes, different quadrivalent configurations and more. Simulation of quadrivalent meiosis results as expected in double reduction and recombination between more than two hom(oe)ologous chromosomes. The results are shown to match theoretical predictions.
Conclusions: This is the first simulation software that implements all features of meiosis in tetraploids. It allows to generate data for tetraploid and diploid populations, and to investigate different models of tetraploid meiosis. The software and manual are available from http://www.plantbreeding.nl/UK/software_pedigreeSim.html and as Additional files 1, 2, 3 and 4 with this publication.