Linkage is a phenomenon that correlates the genotypes of loci, rather than the phenotypes of one locus to the genotypes of another. It is therefore necessary to convert the observed trait phenotypes into trait-locus genotypes, which can then be analyzed for coinheritance with marker-locus genotypes. However, if the mode of inheritance of the trait is not known accurately, this conversion can often result in errors in the inferred trait- locus genotypes, which, in turn, can lead to the misclassification of the recombination status of meioses. As a result, the recombination fraction can be overestimated in two-point analysis, and false exclusions of the true trait locus can occur in multipoint analysis. We propose a method that increases the robustness of multipoint analysis to errors in the mode of inheritance assumptions of the trait, by explicitly allowing for misclassification of trait-locus genotypes. To this end, the definition of the recombination fraction is extended to the complex plane, as Θ = θ + εi; θ is the recombination fraction between actual ('real') genotypes of marker and trait loci, and ε is the probability of apparent but false ('imaginary') recombinations between the actual and inferred trait-locus genotypes. 'Complex' multipoint LOD scores are proven to be stochastically equivalent to conventional two-point LOD scores. The greater robustness to modeling errors normally associated with two-point analysis can thus be extended to multiple two-point analysis and multipoint analysis. The use of complex-valued recombination fractions also allows the stochastic equivalence of 'model-based' and 'model-free' methods to be extended to multipoint analysis.
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