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      A Multiparent Advanced Generation Inter-Cross to Fine-Map Quantitative Traits in Arabidopsis thaliana

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          Identifying natural allelic variation that underlies quantitative trait variation remains a fundamental problem in genetics. Most studies have employed either simple synthetic populations with restricted allelic variation or performed association mapping on a sample of naturally occurring haplotypes. Both of these approaches have some limitations, therefore alternative resources for the genetic dissection of complex traits continue to be sought. Here we describe one such alternative, the Multiparent Advanced Generation Inter-Cross (MAGIC). This approach is expected to improve the precision with which QTL can be mapped, improving the outlook for QTL cloning. Here, we present the first panel of MAGIC lines developed: a set of 527 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) descended from a heterogeneous stock of 19 intermated accessions of the plant Arabidopsis thaliana. These lines and the 19 founders were genotyped with 1,260 single nucleotide polymorphisms and phenotyped for development-related traits. Analytical methods were developed to fine-map quantitative trait loci (QTL) in the MAGIC lines by reconstructing the genome of each line as a mosaic of the founders. We show by simulation that QTL explaining 10% of the phenotypic variance will be detected in most situations with an average mapping error of about 300 kb, and that if the number of lines were doubled the mapping error would be under 200 kb. We also show how the power to detect a QTL and the mapping accuracy vary, depending on QTL location. We demonstrate the utility of this new mapping population by mapping several known QTL with high precision and by finding novel QTL for germination data and bolting time. Our results provide strong support for similar ongoing efforts to produce MAGIC lines in other organisms.

          Author Summary

          Most traits of economic and evolutionary interest vary quantitatively and have multiple genes affecting their expression. Dissecting the genetic basis of such traits is crucial for the improvement of crops and management of diseases. Here, we develop a new resource to identify genes underlying such quantitative traits in Arabidopsis thaliana, a genetic model organism in plants. We show that using a large population of inbred lines derived from intercrossing 19 parents, we can localize the genes underlying quantitative traits better than with existing methods. Using these lines, we were able to replicate the identification of previously known genes that affect developmental traits in A. thaliana and identify some new ones. This paper also presents all the necessary biological and computational material necessary for the scientific community to use these lines in their own research. Our results suggest that the use of lines derived from a multiparent advanced generation inter-cross (MAGIC lines) should be very useful in other organisms.

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          Most cited references 52

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          BLAT--the BLAST-like alignment tool.

           W. Kent (2002)
          Analyzing vertebrate genomes requires rapid mRNA/DNA and cross-species protein alignments. A new tool, BLAT, is more accurate and 500 times faster than popular existing tools for mRNA/DNA alignments and 50 times faster for protein alignments at sensitivity settings typically used when comparing vertebrate sequences. BLAT's speed stems from an index of all nonoverlapping K-mers in the genome. This index fits inside the RAM of inexpensive computers, and need only be computed once for each genome assembly. BLAT has several major stages. It uses the index to find regions in the genome likely to be homologous to the query sequence. It performs an alignment between homologous regions. It stitches together these aligned regions (often exons) into larger alignments (typically genes). Finally, BLAT revisits small internal exons possibly missed at the first stage and adjusts large gap boundaries that have canonical splice sites where feasible. This paper describes how BLAT was optimized. Effects on speed and sensitivity are explored for various K-mer sizes, mismatch schemes, and number of required index matches. BLAT is compared with other alignment programs on various test sets and then used in several genome-wide applications. hosts a web-based BLAT server for the human genome.
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            Genome-wide insertional mutagenesis of Arabidopsis thaliana.

            Over 225,000 independent Agrobacterium transferred DNA (T-DNA) insertion events in the genome of the reference plant Arabidopsis thaliana have been created that represent near saturation of the gene space. The precise locations were determined for more than 88,000 T-DNA insertions, which resulted in the identification of mutations in more than 21,700 of the approximately 29,454 predicted Arabidopsis genes. Genome-wide analysis of the distribution of integration events revealed the existence of a large integration site bias at both the chromosome and gene levels. Insertion mutations were identified in genes that are regulated in response to the plant hormone ethylene.
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              Efficient control of population structure in model organism association mapping.

              Genomewide association mapping in model organisms such as inbred mouse strains is a promising approach for the identification of risk factors related to human diseases. However, genetic association studies in inbred model organisms are confronted by the problem of complex population structure among strains. This induces inflated false positive rates, which cannot be corrected using standard approaches applied in human association studies such as genomic control or structured association. Recent studies demonstrated that mixed models successfully correct for the genetic relatedness in association mapping in maize and Arabidopsis panel data sets. However, the currently available mixed-model methods suffer from computational inefficiency. In this article, we propose a new method, efficient mixed-model association (EMMA), which corrects for population structure and genetic relatedness in model organism association mapping. Our method takes advantage of the specific nature of the optimization problem in applying mixed models for association mapping, which allows us to substantially increase the computational speed and reliability of the results. We applied EMMA to in silico whole-genome association mapping of inbred mouse strains involving hundreds of thousands of SNPs, in addition to Arabidopsis and maize data sets. We also performed extensive simulation studies to estimate the statistical power of EMMA under various SNP effects, varying degrees of population structure, and differing numbers of multiple measurements per strain. Despite the limited power of inbred mouse association mapping due to the limited number of available inbred strains, we are able to identify significantly associated SNPs, which fall into known QTL or genes identified through previous studies while avoiding an inflation of false positives. An R package implementation and webserver of our EMMA method are publicly available.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS Genet
                PLoS Genetics
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                July 2009
                July 2009
                10 July 2009
                : 5
                : 7
                [1 ]Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom
                [2 ]Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
                [3 ]Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
                [4 ]Center for Genomics and Systems Biology, New York University, New York, New York, United States of America
                University of Georgia, United States of America
                Author notes

                Conceived and designed the experiments: PXK RM. Performed the experiments: PXK JT NS IME MDP. Analyzed the data: PXK WV CD RM. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: PXK MDP. Wrote the paper: PXK WV CD RM.

                Kover et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
                Page count
                Pages: 15
                Research Article
                Genetics and Genomics/Complex Traits
                Plant Biology/Plant Genetics and Gene Expression
                Plant Biology/Plant Growth and Development



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