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Analysis of linear and nonlinear genotype × environment interaction

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  • The usual analysis of genotype × environment interaction (G × E) is based on the linear regression of genotypic performance on environmental changes (e.g., classic stability analysis). This linear model may often lead to lumping together of the non-linear responses to the whole range of environmental changes from suboptimal and super optimal conditions, thereby lowering the power of detecting G × E variation. On the other hand, the G × E is present when the magnitude of the genetic effect differs across the range of environmental conditions regardless of whether the response to environmental changes is linear or non-linear. The objectives of this study are: (i) explore the use of four commonly used non-linear functions (logistic, parabola, normal and Cauchy functions) for modeling non-linear genotypic responses to environmental changes and (ii) to investigate the difference in the magnitude of estimated genetic effects under different environmental conditions. The use of non-linear functions was illustrated through the analysis of one data set taken from barley cultivar trials in Alberta, Canada (Data A) and the examination of change in effect sizes is through the analysis another data set taken from the North America Barley Genome Mapping Project (Data B). The analysis of Data A showed that the Cauchy function captured an average of >40% of total G × E variation whereas the logistic function captured less G × E variation than the linear function. The analysis of Data B showed that genotypic responses were largely linear and that strong QTL × environment interaction existed as the positions, sizes and directions of QTL detected differed in poor vs. good environments. We conclude that (i) the non-linear functions should be considered when analyzing multi-environmental trials with a wide range of environmental variation and (ii) QTL × environment interaction can arise from the difference in effect sizes across environments.

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    Attribution 4.0 International
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    • Yang, R. -C. (2014). Analysis of linear and nonlinear genotype × environment interaction. Frontiers in Genetics, 5(227), [7 pages].
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