Genetic interactions contribute less than additive effects to quantitative trait variation in yeast

Joshua S. Bloom, Iulia Kotenko, Meru J. Sadhu, Sebastian Treusch, Frank W. Albert, Leonid Kruglyak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations

Abstract

Genetic mapping studies of quantitative traits typically focus on detecting loci that contribute additively to trait variation. Genetic interactions are often proposed as a contributing factor to trait variation, but the relative contribution of interactions to trait variation is a subject of debate. Here we use a very large cross between two yeast strains to accurately estimate the fraction of phenotypic variance due to pairwise QTL-QTL interactions for 20 quantitative traits. We find that this fraction is 9% on average, substantially less than the contribution of additive QTL (43%). Statistically significant QTL-QTL pairs typically have small individual effect sizes, but collectively explain 40% of the pairwise interaction variance. We show that pairwise interaction variance is largely explained by pairs of loci at least one of which has a significant additive effect. These results refine our understanding of the genetic architecture of quantitative traits and help guide future mapping studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8712
JournalNature communications
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 5 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by National Institutes of Health grant R01 GM102308, a James S. McDonnell Centennial Fellowship, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (L.K.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

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