Recent progress in the generation of a molecular genetic map and markers for rice has made possible a new phase of mapping individual genes associated with complex traits. This type of analysis is often referred to as quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis. Increasing numbers of QTL analyses are providing enormous amounts of information about QTLs, such as the numbers of loci involved, their chromosomal locations and gene effects. Clarification of genetic bases of complex traits has a big impact not only on fundamental research on rice plant development, but it also has practical benefits for rice breeding. In this review, we summarize recent progress of QTL analysis of several complex traits in rice. A strategy for positional cloning of genes at QTLs is also discussed.