Statistical methods for expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) mapping

Christina KendziorskiAlan D Attie


Traditional genetic mapping has largely focused on the identification of loci affecting one, or at most a few, complex traits. Microarrays allow for measurement of thousands of gene expression abundances, themselves complex traits, and a number of recent investigations have considered these measurements as phenotypes in mapping studies. Combining traditional quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping methods with microarray data is a powerful approach with demonstrated utility in a number of recent biological investigations. These expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) studies are similar to traditional QTL studies, as a main goal is to identify the genomic locations to which the expression traits are linked. However, eQTL studies probe thousands of expression transcripts; and as a result, standard multi-trait QTL mapping methods, designed to handle at most tens of traits, do not directly apply. One possible approach is to use single-trait QTL mapping methods to analyze each transcript separately. This leads to an increased number of false discoveries, as corrections for multiple tests across transcripts are not made. Similarly, the repeated application, at each marker, of methods for identifying differentially expressed transcri...Continue Reading


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