Segregation analysis can be used to detect an allele of large effect segregating against a polygenic background. Simulation was used to study the power of three approximations to the exact mixed model likelihood (major gene and polygenic component) for the detection of a major gene and the estimation of its effect. The approximations differed in their ability to detect a major gene, however the best method, which involves an approximation by Hermite integration, provided good estimates of its effect. Analysing the data assuming the polygenic heritability is known can provide a more powerful test for a major gene, but could potentially detect a spurious major gene if the polygenic heritability was fixed at too low a value.

Sara A Knott, Chris S Haley, R. Thompson

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume XIII. Plenary lectures, molecular genetics and mapping, selection, prediction and estimation., , 504–507, 1990
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