Next generation quantitative genetics in plants.
Most characteristics in living organisms show continuous variation, which suggests that they are controlled by multiple genes. Quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis can identify the genes underlying continuous traits by establishing associations between genetic markers and observed phenotypic variation in a segregating population. The new high-throughput sequencing (HTS) technologies greatly facilitate QTL analysis by providing genetic markers at genome-wide resolution in any species without previous knowledge of its genome. In addition HTS serves to quantify molecular phenotypes, which aids to identify the loci responsible for QTLs and to understand the mechanisms underlying diversity. The constant improvements in price, experimental protocols, computational pipelines, and statistical frameworks are making feasible the use of HTS for any research group interested in quantitative genetics. In this review I discuss the application of HTS for molecular marker discovery, population genotyping, and expression profiling in QTL analysis.