Dissection of complex adult traits in a mouse synthetic population

Genome Research
David T BurkeAndrzej T Galecki


Finding the causative genetic variations that underlie complex adult traits is a significant experimental challenge. The unbiased search strategy of genome-wide association (GWAS) has been used extensively in recent human population studies. These efforts, however, typically find only a minor fraction of the genetic loci that are predicted to affect variation. As an experimental model for the analysis of adult polygenic traits, we measured a mouse population for multiple phenotypes and conducted a genome-wide search for effector loci. Complex adult phenotypes, related to body size and bone structure, were measured as component phenotypes, and each subphenotype was associated with a genomic spectrum of candidate effector loci. The strategy successfully detected several loci for the phenotypes, at genome-wide significance, using a single, modest-sized population (N = 505). The effector loci each explain 2%-10% of the measured trait variation and, taken together, the loci can account for over 25% of a trait's total population variation. A replicate population (N = 378) was used to confirm initially observed loci for one trait (femur length), and, when the two groups were merged, the combined population demonstrated increased power...Continue Reading


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