Influence of outliers on QTL mapping for complex traits

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A method was proposed for the detection of outliers and influential observations in the framework of a mixed linear model, prior to the quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping analysis. We investigated the impact of outliers on QTL mapping for complex traits in a mouse BXD population, and observed that the dropping of outliers could provide the evidence of additional QTL and epistatic loci affecting the 1stBrain-OB and the 2ndBrain-OB in a cross of the abovementioned population. The results could also reveal a remarkable increase in estimating heritabilities of QTL in the absence of outliers. In addition, simulations were conducted to investigate the detection powers and false discovery rates (FDRs) of QTLs in the presence and absence of outliers. The results suggested that the presence of a small proportion of outliers could increase the FDR and hence decrease the detection power of QTLs. A drastic increase could be obtained in the estimates of standard errors for position, additive and additive×environment interaction effects of QTLs in the presence of outliers.

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