Neighbor QTL: an interval mapping method for quantitative trait loci underlying plant neighborhood effects.


Sato Y(1)(2), Takeda K(3), Nagano AJ(4).
Author information:
(1)Precursory Research for Embryonic Science and Technology
(PRESTO), Japan Science and Technology Agency, Kawaguchi 332-0012, Japan.
(2)Research Institute for Food and Agriculture, Ryukoku University, Shiga 520-2194, Japan.
(3)Center for Ecological Research, Kyoto University, Shiga 520-2113, Japan.
(4)Faculty of Agriculture, Ryukoku University, Shiga 520-2194, Japan.


Phenotypes of sessile organisms, such as plants, rely not only on their own genotypes but also on those of neighboring individuals. Previously, we incorporated such neighbor effects into a single-marker regression using the Ising model of ferromagnetism. However, little is known regarding how neighbor effects should be incorporated in quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping. In this study, we propose a new method for interval QTL mapping of neighbor effects, designated "neighbor QTL," the algorithm of which includes: (1) obtaining conditional self-genotype probabilities with recombination fraction between flanking markers; (2) calculating conditional neighbor genotypic identity using the self-genotype probabilities; and (3) estimating additive and dominance deviations for neighbor effects. Our simulation using F2 and backcross lines showed that the power to detect neighbor effects increased as the effective range decreased. The neighbor QTL was applied to insect herbivory on Col × Kas recombinant inbred lines of Arabidopsis thaliana. Consistent with previous results, the pilot experiment detected a self-QTL effect on the herbivory at the GLABRA1 locus. Regarding neighbor QTL effects on herbivory, we observed a weak QTL on the top of chromosome 4, at which a weak self-bolting QTL was also identified. The neighbor QTL method is available as an R package (, providing a novel tool to investigate neighbor effects in QTL studies.