Genetical genomics studies uncover genome-wide genetic interactions between genes and their transcriptional regulators. High-throughput measurement of gene expression in recombinant inbred line populations has enabled investigation of the genetic architecture of variation in gene expression. This has the potential to enrich our understanding of the molecular mechanisms affected by and underlying natural variation. Moreover, it contributes to the systems biology of natural variation, as a substantial number of experiments have resulted in a valuable amount of interconnectable phenotypic, molecular and genotypic data. A number of genetical genomics studies have been published for Arabidopsis thaliana, uncovering many expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs). However, these complex data are not easily accessible to the plant research community, leaving most of the valuable genetic interactions unexplored as cross-analysis of these studies is a major effort. We address this problem with AraQTL (http://www.bioinformatics.nl/Ara QTL/), an easily accessible workbench and database for comparative analysis and meta-analysis of all published Arabidopsis eQTL datasets. AraQTL provides a workbench for comparing, re-using and extending upon the results of these experiments. For example, one can easily screen a physical region for specific local eQTLs that could harbour candidate genes for phenotypic QTLs, or detect gene-by-environment interactions by comparing eQTLs under different conditions.
Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; co-expression; expression quantitative trait loci; gene expression; genetical genomics; system genetics; transcriptional regulation.
© 2016 The Authors. The Plant Journal published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd and Society for Experimental Biology.