For citation purposes: Huang A, Liu D. From quantitative trait locus mapping to genomic selection: the roadmap towards a systematic genetics. OA Genetics 2013 May 01;1(1):4.

Critical review

Linkage Analysis & Genetic Mapping

From quantitative trait locus mapping to genomic selection: the roadmap towards a systematic genetics

A Huang, D Liu

Authors affiliations

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, USA

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Mendelian theory of inheritance explains qualitative traits that are controlled by single genetic locus, while modern quantitative genetic theory states that complex traits are influenced by many factors including main effects of many quantitative trait loci, epistatic effects involving more than one quantitative trait loci, environmental effects and the effects of gene-environment interactions. Quantitative trait locus mapping identifies important quantitative trait loci that reveal genetic basis of complex traits, serve as a map for functional gene cloning, and assist breed line selection. The aim of this study was to discuss the quantitative trait locus method and the resulting genomic selection from quantitative trait locus mapping.


We introduced different breeding populations, genetic models and statistical methods for quantitative trait locusmapping. Genetic background, model principles and computational algorithms and techniques were reviewed. We specifically discussed the whole-genome quantitative trait locusmapping that simultaneously estimates genetic effects associated with markers of entire genome. The fact that the whole-genome approach avoids evaluation of multiple models and model selection while enables genomic selection that predicts genetic merits for a quantitative trait has drawn great attention in research community, and will be an effective tool in breeding line selection.


While traditional quantitative trait locusmapping was designed with the availability of marker density and model capability in recent two decades, whole-genome quantitative trait locus mapping is the result of advancement ingenerating high-density molecular markersand development in high-dimensional sparse modelling algorithms. Whole-genome quantitative trait locus mapping and genomic selection together lead to a systematic genetics that will increase genetic gain and revolutionise crop and livestock breeding.

Licensee OA Publishing London 2013. Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY)