Detecting epistatic genetic variance with a clonally replicated design: models for lowvs high-order nonallelic interaction

Theor Appl Genet. 1996 Jul;93(1-2):102-9. doi: 10.1007/BF00225734.


A quantitative genetic model, that uses known family structure with clonal replicates to separate genetic variance into its additive, dominance and epistatic components, is available in the current literature. Making use of offspring testing, this model is based on the theory that components of variance from the linear model of an experimental design may be expressed in terms of expected covariances among relatives. However, if interactions between a pair of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) explain a large proportion of the total epistasis, it will seriously overestimate the additive and dominance variances but underestimate the epistatic variance. In the present paper, a new model is developed to manipulate this problem by combining parental and offspring material into the same test. Under the condition described above, the new model can provide an accurate estimate for additive x additive variances. Also, its accuracy in estimating dominance and total epistatic variances is much greater than the accuracy of the previous model. However, if there is obvious evidence showing the major contribution of high-order interactions, especially among ≥ 4QTLs, to the total epistasis, the previous model is more appropriate to partition the genetic variance for a quantitative trait. The re-analysis of an example from a factorial mating design in poplar shows large differences in estimating variance components between the new and previous models when two different assumptions (lowvs high-order epistatic interactions) are used. The new model will be an alternative to estimating the mode of quantitative inheritance for species, especially for longlived, predominantly outcrossing forest trees, that can be clonally replicated.