In this paper, we explore models and tests for association and linkage studies of a quantitative trait locus (QTL) linked to a multi-allele marker locus. Based on the difference between an offspring's conditional trait means of receiving and not receiving an allele from a parent at marker locus, we propose three statistics T(m), T(m,row) and T(m,col) to test association or linkage disequilibrium between the marker locus and the QTL. These tests are composite tests, and use the offspring marginal sample means including offspring data of both homozygous and heterozygous parents. For the linkage study, we calculate the offspring's conditional trait mean given the allele transmission status of a heterozygous parent at the marker locus. Based on the difference between the conditional means of a transmitted and a nontransmitted allele from a heterozygous parent, we propose statistics T(parsi), T(satur), T(gen) and T(m,het) to perform composite tests of linkage between the marker locus and the quantitative trait locus in the presence of association. These tests only use the offspring data that are related to the heterozygous parents at the marker locus. T(parsi) is a parsimonious or allele-wise statistic, T(satur) and T(gen )are satured or genotype-wise statistics, and T(m,het) compares the row and column sample means for offspring data of heterozygous parents. After comparing the powers and the sample sizes, we conclude that T(parsi) has higher power than those of the bi-allele tests, T(satur), T(gen), and T(m,het). If there is tight linkage between the marker and the trait locus, T(parsi) is powerful in detecting linkage between the marker and the trait locus in the presence of association. By investigating the goodness-of-fit of T(parsi), we find that T(satur) does not gain much power compared to that of T(parsi). Moreover, T(parsi) takes into account the pattern of the data that is consistent with linkage and linkage disequilibrium. As the number of alleles at the marker locus increases, T(parsi) is very conservative, and can be useful even for sparse data. To illustrate the usefulness and the power of the methods proposed in this paper, we analyze the chromosome 6 data of the Oxford asthma data, Genetic Analysis Workshop 12.
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