- Technical Note
- Open Access
qtl.outbred: Interfacing outbred line cross data with the R/qtl mapping software
© Nelson et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2011
Received: 10 February 2011
Accepted: 26 May 2011
Published: 26 May 2011
qtl.outbred is an extendible interface in the statistical environment, R, for combining quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping tools. It is built as an umbrella package that enables outbred genotype probabilities to be calculated and/or imported into the software package R/qtl.
Using qtl.outbred, the genotype probabilities from outbred line cross data can be calculated by interfacing with a new and efficient algorithm developed for analyzing arbitrarily large datasets (included in the package) or imported from other sources such as the web-based tool, GridQTL.
qtl.outbred will improve the speed for calculating probabilities and the ability to analyse large future datasets. This package enables the user to analyse outbred line cross data accurately, but with similar effort than inbred line cross data.
QTL mapping is one of the first steps towards understanding the genetic basis of complex traits. With the rapid advances in genotyping technologies it is common to obtain dense genotype data for many individuals. While there are a number of software packages available for QTL mapping and analysis, none can currently handle large datasets for outbred line crosses. Here, we introduce a software package, qtl.outbred, which provides an interface between outbred line cross data and the popular QTL mapping and analysis tool, R/qtl.
qtl.outbred enables the user to convert and import genotype probabilities from outbred line crosses to R/qtl in the freely available R environment . After importing the genotype probabilities, the functions in R/qtl downstream of its native calc.genprob function can be used on the imported data. qtl.outbred also provides a function for calculating genotype probabilities from outbred line cross data for large datasets using a newly developed and computationally highly efficient algorithm . Alternatively, output from other software, e.g. GridQTL , can be ported directly for analysis in R/qtl.
The purpose of this interface is to make the established mapping tools in R/qtl, originally developed for inbred line cross data, available to the wider scientific community. The package focuses on outbred line cross datasets, which are often found in research on agricultural plants and animals, selection lines in experimental species including mice, as well as for a number of animal models of human diseases.
Functions in the package qtl.outbred.
Calculating genotype probabilities using the triM algorithm
Importing calculated genotype probabilities to R/qtl
Calculation of genotype probabilities from outbred line cross data is not trivial and qtl.outbred provides support for obtaining these values. We recommend using the build-in function in qtl.outbred, which is much faster and more accurate than the current methods . This method uses a new algorithm (triM) that calculates genotype probabilities from marker and pedigree data from F2 and back-cross populations, using a hidden Markov model .
Other features in qtl.outbred include the option to directly import genotype probabilities generated from the widely used GridQTL software . However, the simple input format used in qtl.outbred, should allow the user to create input files from any other files with genotype probability data.
The purpose of qtl.outbred is to: 1. serve as an interface between the established software packages GridQTL and R/qtl; 2. provide an alternative to calculate QTL genotype probabilities in outbred crosses faster and more accurate than current software via the triM algorithm, and interface the results with R/qtl; 3. enable genotype probabilities calculated via any other method for outbred line cross to be imported into R/qtl; 4. provide these functions in a user friendly environment. This package is designed to fill the need for a fast and efficient QTL mapping environment for large datasets for outbred line crosses.
Availability and Requirements
Project name: qtl.outbred
Project home page: https://r-forge.r-project.org/R/?group_id=844
Operating systems: Windows, Unix-like (Linux, Mac OSX)
Programming language: R, C/C++, Perl
Other requirements: R, Perl
License: GNU GPL
Any restrictions to use by non-academics: None.
This work was supported by the Future Research Leader program of the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research and a EURYI Award from the European Science Foundation to ÖC. We thank Carl Nettelblad and Lucy Crooks for access and assistance with the triM algorithm.
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