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Title: Fine-mapping complex traits in heterogeneous stock rats
Author: Baud, Amelie
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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The fundamental theme my thesis explores is the relationship between genetic variation and phenotypic variation. It addresses three main questions. What is the genetic architecture of traits in the HS? How can sequence information help identifying the sequence variants and genes responsible for phenotypic variation? Are the genetic factors contributing to phenotypic variation in the rat homologous to those contributing to variation in the same phenotype in the mouse? To address these questions, I analysed data collected by the EURATRANS consortium on 1,407 Heterogeneous Stock (HS) rats descended from eight inbred strains through sixty generations of outbreeding. The HS rats were genotyped at 803,485 SNPs and 160 measures relevant to a number of models of disease (e.g. anxiety, type 2 diabetes, multiple sclerosis) were collected. The eight founders of the Stock were genotyped and sequenced. I identified loci in the genome that contribute to phenotypic variation (Quantitative Trait Loci, QTLs), and integrated sequence information with the mapping results to identify the genetic variants underlying the QTLs. I made some important observations about the nature of genetic architecture in rats, and how this compares to mice and humans. I also showed how sequence information can be used to improve mapping resolution, and in some cases to identify causal variants. However, I report an unexpected observation: at the majority of QTLs, the genetic effect cannot be accounted for by a single variant. This finding suggests that genetic variation cannot be reduced to sequence variation. This complexity will need to be taken into account by studies that aim at unravelling the genetic basis of complex traits.
Supervisor: Mott, Richard; Flint, Jonathan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Life Sciences ; Bioinformatics (life sciences) ; Biology ; Genetics (life sciences) ; QTL mapping ; genome-wide association study ; rats ; heterogeneous stocks ; causal variants