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Modeling allelic diversity of multiparent mapping populations affects detection of quantitative trait loci.


The search for quantitative trait loci that explain complex traits such as yield and drought tolerance has been ongoing in all crops. Methods such as biparental quantitative trait loci mapping and genome-wide association studies each have their own advantages and limitations. Multiparent advanced generation intercross populations contain more recombination events and genetic diversity than biparental mapping populations and are better able to estimate effect sizes of rare alleles than association mapping populations. Here, we discuss the results of using a multiparent advanced generation intercross population of doubled haploid maize lines created from 16 diverse founders to perform quantitative trait loci mapping. We compare 3 models that assume bi-allelic, founder, and ancestral haplotype allelic states for quantitative trait loci. The 3 methods have differing power to detect quantitative trait loci for a variety of agronomic traits. Although the founder approach finds the most quantitative trait loci, all methods are able to find unique quantitative trait loci, suggesting that each model has advantages for traits with different genetic architectures. A closer look at a well-characterized flowering time quantitative trait loci, qDTA8, which contains vgt1, highlights the strengths and weaknesses of each method and suggests a potential epistatic interaction. Overall, our results reinforce the importance of considering different approaches to analyzing genotypic datasets, and shows the limitations of binary SNP data for identifying multiallelic quantitative trait loci.

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