The genetics of quantitative traits in Arabidopsis thaliana

Michael Kearsey, Harpal Pooni, Naeem Syed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)


The genetic control of 22 quantitative traits, including developmental rates and sizes, was examined in generations of Arabidopsis thaliana derived from the cross between the ecotypes, Columbia (Col) and Landsberg erecta (Ler). The data were obtained from three sets of families raised in the same trial: the 16 basic generations, that is, parents, F(1)'s, F(2)'s, backcrosses, recombinant inbred lines (RILs) and a triple test cross (TTC), the latter produced by crossing the RILs to Col, Ler and their F(1). The data were analysed by two approaches. The first (approach A) involved traditional generation mean and variance component analysis and the second (B), based around the RILs and TTC families, involved marker-based QTL analysis.From (A), genetic differences between Col and Ler were detected for all traits with moderate heritabilities. Height at flowering was the only trait to show heterosis. Dominance was partial to complete for all height traits, and there was no overdominance but there was strong evidence for directional dominance. For most other traits, dominance was ambidirectional and incomplete, with average dominance ratios of around 80%. Epistasis, particularly of the duplicate type that opposes dominance, was a common feature of all traits. The presence of epistasis must imply multiple QTL for all traits.The QTL analysis located 38 significant effects in four regions of chromosomes I, II, IV and V, but not III. QTL affecting rosette size and leaf number were identified in all four regions, with days to maturity on chromosomes IV and V. The only QTL for height was located at the expected position of the erecta gene (chromosome II; 50 cM), but the additive and dominance effects of this single QTL did not adequately explain the generation means. The possible involvement of other interacting height QTL is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)456-464
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2003


  • heterosis
  • dominance
  • triple test cross
  • heritability
  • epistasis
  • QTL analysis


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