Gene expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) mapping has become a powerful tool in systems biology. While many authors have made important discoveries using this approach, one persistent challenge in eQTL studies is the selection of loci and genes that should receive further biological investigation. In this study we compared eQTL generated from gene expression profiling in the livers of two panels of mouse strains: 41 BXD recombinant inbred and 36 Mouse Diversity Panel (MDP) strains. Cis-eQTL, loci in which the transcript and its maximum QTL are colocated, have been shown to be more reproducible than trans-eQTL, which are not colocated with the transcript. We observed that between 9.9 and 12.1% of cis-eQTL and between 2.0 and 12.6% of trans-eQTL replicated between the two panels depending on the degree of statistical stringency. Notably, a significant eQTL hotspot on distal chromosome 12 observed in the BXD panel was reproduced in the MDP. Furthermore, the shorter linkage disequilibrium in the MDP strains allowed us to considerably narrow the locus and limit the number of candidate genes to a cluster of Serpin genes, which code for extracellular proteases. We conclude that this strategy has some utility in increasing confidence and resolution in eQTL mapping studies; however, due to the high false-positive rate in the MDP, eQTL mapping in inbred strains is best carried out in combination with an eQTL linkage study.
Mammalian Genome – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 17, 2009
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