Explaining the heritability of an ecologically significant trait in terms of individual quantitative trait loci.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Most natural populations display substantial genetic variation in behaviour, morphology, physiology, life history and the susceptibility to disease. A major challenge is to determine the contributions of individual loci to variation in complex traits. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping has identified genomic regions affecting ecologically significant traits of many species. In nearly all cases, however, the importance of these QTLs to population variation remains unclear. In this paper, we apply a novel experimental method to parse the genetic variance of floral traits of the annual plant Mimulus guttatus into contributions of individual QTLs. We first use QTL-mapping to identify nine loci and then conduct a population-based breeding experiment to estimate V(Q), the genetic variance attributable to each QTL. We find that three QTLs with moderate effects explain up to one-third of the genetic variance in the natural population. Variation at these loci is probably maintained by some form of balancing selection. Notably, the largest effect QTLs were relatively minor in their contribution to heritability.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Scoville, AG; Lee, YW; Willis, JH; Kelly, JK

Published Date

  • December 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 7 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 896 - 898

PubMed ID

  • 21653565

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC3210669

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1744-957X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1744-9561

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1098/rsbl.2011.0409


  • eng