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From the Computational Genetics Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania (www.epistasis.org)

Friday, November 04, 2016

The Genetic Architecture of Quantitative Traits Cannot Be Inferred from Variance Component Analysis

Must read!

Huang W, Mackay TF. The Genetic Architecture of Quantitative Traits Cannot Be Inferred from Variance Component Analysis. PLoS Genet. 2016 Nov 3;12(11):e1006421. [PLoS]

Abstract


Classical quantitative genetic analyses estimate additive and non-additive genetic and environmental components of variance from phenotypes of related individuals without knowing the identities of quantitative trait loci (QTLs). Many studies have found a large proportion of quantitative trait variation can be attributed to the additive genetic variance (VA), providing the basis for claims that non-additive gene actions are unimportant. In this study, we show that arbitrarily defined parameterizations of genetic effects seemingly consistent with non-additive gene actions can also capture the majority of genetic variation. This reveals a logical flaw in using the relative magnitudes of variance components to indicate the relative importance of additive and non-additive gene actions. We discuss the implications and propose that variance component analyses should not be used to infer the genetic architecture of quantitative traits.

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