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The covariance between relatives conditional on genetic markers


The development of molecular genotyping techniques makes it possible to analyze quantitative traits on the basis of individual loci. With marker information, the classical theory of estimating the genetic covariance between relatives can be reformulated to improve the accuracy of estimation. In this study, an algorithm was derived for computing the conditional covariance between relatives given genetic markers. Procedures for calculating the conditional relationship coefficients for additive, dominance, additive by additive, additive by dominance, dominance by additive and dominance by dominance effects were developed. The relationship coefficients were computed based on conditional QTL allelic transmission probabilities, which were inferred from the marker allelic transmission probabilities. An example data set with pedigree and linked markers was used to demonstrate the methods developed. Although this study dealt with two QTLs coupled with linked markers, the same principle can be readily extended to the situation of multiple QTL. The treatment of missing marker information and unknown linkage phase between markers for calculating the covariance between relatives was discussed.

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Correspondence to Yuefu Liu.

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Liu, Y., Jansen, G.B. & Lin, C.Y. The covariance between relatives conditional on genetic markers. Genet Sel Evol 34, 657 (2002).

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  • covariance between relatives
  • molecular marker
  • QTL
  • transmission probability
  • relationship matrix