The endosperm, a result of double fertilization in flowering plants, is a triploid tissue whose genetic composition is more complex than diploid tissue. We present a new maximum-likelihood-based statistical method for mapping quantitative trait loci (QTL) underlying endosperm traits in an autogamous plant. Genetic mapping of quantitative endosperm traits is qualitatively different from traits for other plant organs because the endosperm displays complicated trisomic inheritance and represents a younger generation than its mother plant. Our endosperm mapping method is based on two different experimental designs: (1) a one-stage design in which marker information is derived from the maternal genome and (2) a two-stage hierarchical design in which marker information is derived from both the maternal and offspring genomes (embryos). Under the one-stage design, the position and additive effect of a putative QTL can be well estimated, but the estimates of the dominant and epistatic effects are upward biased and imprecise. The two-stage hierarchical design, which extracts more genetic information from the material, typically improves the accuracy and precision of the dominant and epistatic effects for an endosperm trait. We discuss the effects on the estimation of QTL parameters of different sampling strategies under the two-stage hierarchical design. Our method will be broadly useful in mapping endosperm traits for many agriculturally important crop plants and also make it possible to study the genetic significance of double fertilization in the evolution of higher plants.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||18|
|State||Published - Oct 1 2002|
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