Is the genotype-phenotype map modular? A statistical approach using mouse quantitative trait loci data.
Quantitative Trait, Heritable
Various theories about the evolution of complex characters make predictions about the statistical distribution of genetic effects on phenotypic characters, also called the genotype-phenotype map. With the advent of QTL technology, data about these distributions are becoming available. In this article, we propose simple tests for the prediction that functionally integrated characters have a modular genotype-phenotype map. The test is applied to QTL data on the mouse mandible. The results provide statistical support for the notion that the ascending ramus region of the mandible is modularized. A data set comprising the effects of QTL on a more extensive portion of the phenotype is required to determine if the alveolar region of the mandible is also modularized.