Most medically and agronomically important traits are ¿multifactorial¿ phenotypes influenced by multiple polygenes or Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) as well as environmental factors. Identifying the genes influencing such ¿complex¿ traits is one of the most important goals of modern genetics, as it paves the way towards numerous important medical and agricultural applications.
One of the most important bottlenecks towards that goal is the difficulty to accurately determine the location of QTL on the genome, i.e. the difficulties to fine-map QTL with an accuracy that is sufficient to allow for the identification of the causal genes and mutations. We herein propose to apply a novel strategy to fine-map a QTL influencing female fertility in dairy cattle that was previously identified by the host laboratory. Improving female fertility is becoming an important component in present day selection objectives targeting health and well fare more than only production efficacy per se.
The proposed strategy has three major features:
(i) computer aided development of high density maker maps in the chromosome regions of interest,
(ii) the exploitation of linkage disequilibrium as a means to increase the cross-over density in the chromosome region of interest,
(iii) increasing QTL "detectance" by means of progeny-testing and marker assisted segregation analysis.
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