Background. Living things come in all shapes and sizes, from bacteria, plants, and animals to humans. Knowledge about the genetic mechanisms for biological shape has far-reaching implications for a range spectrum of scientific disciplines including anthropology, agriculture, developmental biology, evolution and biomedicine. Results. We derived a statistical model for mapping specific genes or quantitative trait loci (QTLs) that control morphological shape. The model was formulated within the mixture framework, in which different types of shape are thought to result from genotypic discrepancies at a QTL. The EM algorithm was implemented to estimate QTL genotype-specific shapes based on a shape correspondence analysis. Computer simulation was used to investigate the statistical property of the model. Conclusion. By identifying specific QTLs for morphological shape, the model developed will help to ask, disseminate and address many major integrative biological and genetic questions and challenges in the genetic control of biological shape and function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number28
JournalTheoretical Biology and Medical Modelling
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Health Informatics


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