Genetic Maps

Everyone has used a map at one time or another. Maps are indispensable for finding a new friend's house, the way to an unfamiliar city in your state, or the location of a country on the globe. Each of these examples requires a map with a different scale. For finding a friend's house, you would probably use a city street map; for finding your way to an unknown city, you might pick up a state highway map; for finding a country such as Kazakhstan, you would need a world atlas. Similarly, navigating a genome requires maps of different types and scales.

Genetic maps (also called linkage maps) provide a rough approximation of the locations of genes relative to the locations of other known genes (I Figure 19.1). These maps are based on the genetic function of recombination (hence the name genetic map). The basic principles of constructing genetic maps are discussed in detail in Chapter 7. In short, individuals heterozygous at two or more genetic loci are crossed, and the frequency of recombination between loci is determined by examining the progeny. If the recombination frequency between two loci is 50%, then the loci are located on different chromosomes or are far apart on the same chromosome. If the recombination frequency is less than 50%, the loci are located close together on the same chromosome (they belong to the same linkage group). For linked genes, the rate of recombination is proportional to the physical distance between the loci. Distances on genetic maps are measured in percent recombination (centimorgans, cM) or map units. Data from multiple two-point or three-point crosses can be integrated into linkage maps for whole chromosomes.

For many years, genes could be detected only by observing their influence on a trait (the phenotype), and construction of genetic maps was limited by the availability of single-locus traits that could be examined for evidence of recombination. Eventually, this limitation was overcome by the development of molecular techniques such as restriction fragment length polymorphisms, the polymerase chain reaction, and DNA sequencing (see Chapter 18) that are able to provide molecular markers that can be used to construct and refine genetic maps.

Genetic maps have several limitations, the first of which is resolution or detail. The human genome includes 3.4 billion base pairs of DNA and has a total genetic distance of about 4000 cM, an average of 850,000 bp/cM.

W Distances onH^I DNA markers and a genetic map are measured in centimorgans.

Distance (cM)

Distance (cM)

a few genes (in blue) of known pheno-types can be used to determine the positions of genes. M

DNA markers

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