Quantitative trait loci for the circadian clock in Neurospora crassa
Quantitative Trait Loci
Neurospora crassa has been a model organism for the study of circadian clocks for the past four decades. Among natural accessions of Neurospora crassa, there is significant variation in clock phenotypes. In an attempt to investigate natural allelic variants contributing to quantitative variation, we used a quantitative trait loci mapping approach to analyze three independent mapping populations whose progenitors were collected from geographically isolated locations. Two circadian clock phenotypes, free-running period and entrained phase, were evaluated in the 188 F(1) progeny of each mapping population. To identify the clock QTL, we applied two QTL mapping analyses: composite interval mapping (CIM) and Bayesian multiple QTL analysis (BMQ). When controlling false positive rates < or =0.05, BMQ appears to be the more sensitive of the two approaches. BMQ confirmed most of the QTL from CIM (18 QTL) and identified 23 additional QTL. While 13 QTL colocalize with previously identified clock genes, we identified 30 QTL that were not linked with any previously characterized clock genes. These are candidate regions where clock genes may be located and are expected to lead to new insights in clock regulation.