Quantitative genetics and quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping have undergone a revolution in the last decade. Progress in the next decade promises to be at least as rapid, and strategies for fine-mapping QTLs and identifying underlying genes will be radically revised. In this Commentary we address several key issues: first, we revisit a perennial challenge - how to identify individual genes and allelic variants underlying QTLs. We compare current practice and procedures in QTL analysis with novel methods and resources that are just now being introduced. We argue that there is no one standard of proof for showing QTL = gene; rather, evidence from several sources must be carefully assembled until there is only one reasonable conclusion. Second, we compare QTL analysis with whole-genome mutagenesis in mice and point out some of the strengths and weakness of both of these phenotype-driven methods. Finally, we explore the advantages and disadvantages of naturally occurring vs mutagen-induced polymorphisms. We argue that these two complementary genetic methods have much to offer in efforts to highlight genes and pathways most likely to influence the susceptibility and progression of common diseases in human populations.
- Complex traits
- Gene mapping
- Quantitative trait locus (QTL)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics