Mouse inbred strain sequence information and yin-yang crosses for quantitative trait locus fine mapping

Date Published:

2005 Feb


The shared ancestry of mouse inbred strains, together with the availability of sequence and phenotype information, is a resource that can be used to map quantitative trait loci (QTL). The difficulty in using only sequence information lies in the fact that in most instances the allelic state of the QTL cannot be unambiguously determined in a given strain. To overcome this difficulty, the performance of multiple crosses between various inbred strains has been proposed. Here we suggest and evaluate a general approach, which consists of crossing the two strains used initially to map the QTL and any new strain. We have termed these crosses "yin-yang," because they are complementary in nature as shown by the fact that the QTL will necessarily segregate in only one of the crosses. We used the publicly available SNP database of chromosome 16 to evaluate the mapping resolution achievable through this approach. Although on average the improvement of mapping resolution using only four inbred strains was relatively small (i.e., reduction of the QTL-containing interval by half at most), we found a great degree of variability among different regions of chromosome 16 with regard to mapping resolution. This suggests that with a large number of strains in hand, selecting a small number of strains may provide a significant contribution to the fine mapping of QTL.