Genetical Research

Evaluation of linkage disequilibrium measures between multi-allelic markers as predictors of linkage disequilibrium between single nucleotide polymorphisms

H. ZHAO a1, D. NETTLETON a2 and J. C. M. DEKKERS a1c1
a1 Department of Animal Science and Center for Integrated Animal Genomics, 239 Kildee Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
a2 Department of Statistics, 111A Snedecor Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA

Article author query
zhao h   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
nettleton d   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
dekkers jc   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Effectiveness of marker-assisted selection (MAS) and quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping using population-wide linkage disequilibrium (LD) between markers and QTLs depends on the extent of LD and how it declines with distance between markers and QTLs in a population. Marker–QTL LD can be predicted from LD between markers. Our previous work evaluated LD measures between multi-allelic markers as predictors of usable LD of multi-allelic markers with QTLs. Since single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are the current marker of choice for high-density genotyping and LD-mapping of QTLs, the objective of this study was to use LD between multi-allelic markers to predict LD among biallelic SNPs or between SNPs and QTLs. Observable LD between multi-allelic markers was evaluated using nine measures. These included two pooled and standardized measures of LD between pairs of alleles at two markers based on Lewontin's LD measure, two pooled measures of squared correlations between alleles, one standardized measure using Hardy–Weinberg heterozygosities, and four measures based on the chi-square statistic for testing for association between alleles at two loci. The standardized chi-square measure that best predicted usable LD between multi-allelic markers and QTLs, based on our previous work, overestimated usable SNP–SNP or SNP–QTL LD. Instead, three other measures were found to be good predictors of usable SNP–SNP or SNP–QTL LD when LD is generated by drift. Therefore, the LD measure between multi-allelic markers that is best for predicting usable LD in a population depends on the type of markers (i.e. multi-allelic or biallelic) that will eventually be used for QTL mapping or MAS.

(Received October 6 2006)
(Revised December 29 2006)
(Revised February 7 2007)

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