Quantitative Genetics


Almost any trait that can be defined shows variation, both within and between populations. Quantitative genetics is concerned with the analysis of the genetic and environmental basis of this variation. Classical genetics typically deals with single genes of large effect, while quantitative genetics often assumes a large number of genes, each with small effects, influence trait variation.

Keywords: quantitative traits; genetic variance; additive genetics; variance; heritability; quantitative trait loci (QTLs)

Figure 1.

Galton's 1889 plot of average parental height versus average height of offspring.


Further Reading

Barton NH and Turelli M (1989) Evolutionary quantitative genetics: how little do we know? Annual Review of Genetics 23: 337–370.

Falconer DS and Mackay TFC (1996) Introduction to Quantitative Genetics, 4th edn. Essex, UK: Longman.

Lander ES and Schork NJ (1994) Genetic dissection of complex traits. Science 265: 2037–2048.

Lynch M and Walsh B (1998) Genetics and Analysis of Quantitative Traits. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer.

Mackay TFC (1996) The nature of quantitative genetic variation revisited: lessons from Drosophila bristles. BioEssays 18: 113–121.

Mayo O (1987) The Theory of Plant Breeding, 2nd edn. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Mitchell‐Olds T and Rutledge JJ (1986) Quantitative genetics in natural plant populations: a review of the theory. American Naturalist 127: 379–402.

Paterson AH, Tanksley SD and Sorrells ME (1991) DNA markers in plant improvement. Advances in Agronomy 46: 39–90.

Turner HN and Young SSY (1969) Quantitative Genetics in Sheep Breeding. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Weiss KM (1993) Genetic Variation and Human Disease: Principles and Evolutionary Approaches. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Walsh, Bruce(Apr 2001) Quantitative Genetics. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001785]