Composite interval mapping was used to identify life-span QTL in F 2 progeny of three crosses between different pairs of inbred lines. Each inbred line was derived from a different outbred population that had undergone long-term selection for either long or short life span. Microsatellite loci were used as genetic markers, and confidence intervals for QTL location were estimated by bootstrapping. A minimum of 10 QTL were detected, nine of which were located on the two major autosomes. Five QTL were present in at least two crosses and five were present in both sexes. Observation of the same QTL in more than one cross was consistent with the hypothesis that genetic variation for life span is maintained by balancing selection. For all QTL except one, allelic effects were in the direction predicted on the basis of outbred source population. Alleles that conferred longer life were always at least partially dominant.
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