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We have developed a fast and economical strategy for dissecting the genetic architecture of quantitative trait loci at a molecular level. The method uses two pieces of information: mapping data from crosses that involve more than two inbred strains and sequence variants in the progenitor strains within the interval containing a quantitative trait locus (QTL). By testing whether the strain distribution pattern in the progenitor strains is consistent with the observed genetic effect of the QTL we can assign a probability that any sequence variant is a quantitative trait nucleotide (QTN). It is not necessary to genotype the animals except at a skeleton of markers; the genotypes at all other polymorphisms are estimated by a multipoint analysis. We apply the method to a 4.8-Mb region on mouse chromosome 1 that contains a QTL influencing anxiety segregating in a heterogeneous stock and show that, under the assumption that a single QTN is present and lies in a region conserved between the human and mouse genomes, it is possible to reduce the number of variants likely to be the quantitative trait nucleotide from many thousands to <20.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





673 - 681


Animals, Chromosome Mapping, Crosses, Genetic, Genetic Variation, Genotype, Mice, Nucleotides, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Quantitative Trait Loci, Sequence Analysis, DNA