Power analysis of artificial selection experiments using efficient whole genome simulation of quantitative traits

Genetics. 2015 Apr;199(4):991-1005. doi: 10.1534/genetics.115.175075. Epub 2015 Feb 10.


Evolve and resequence studies combine artificial selection experiments with massively parallel sequencing technology to study the genetic basis for complex traits. In these experiments, individuals are selected for extreme values of a trait, causing alleles at quantitative trait loci (QTL) to increase or decrease in frequency in the experimental population. We present a new analysis of the power of artificial selection experiments to detect and localize quantitative trait loci. This analysis uses a simulation framework that explicitly models whole genomes of individuals, quantitative traits, and selection based on individual trait values. We find that explicitly modeling QTL provides qualitatively different insights than considering independent loci with constant selection coefficients. Specifically, we observe how interference between QTL under selection affects the trajectories and lengthens the fixation times of selected alleles. We also show that a substantial portion of the genetic variance of the trait (50-100%) can be explained by detected QTL in as little as 20 generations of selection, depending on the trait architecture and experimental design. Furthermore, we show that power depends crucially on the opportunity for recombination during the experiment. Finally, we show that an increase in power is obtained by leveraging founder haplotype information to obtain allele frequency estimates.

Keywords: artificial selection; evolve and resequence; forward simulation; power analysis; quantitative traits.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genome, Insect*
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Selection, Genetic*