Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5(2):161-170. doi:10.7150/ijbs.5.161 This issue


Understanding Quantitative Genetics in the Systems Biology Era

Mengjin Zhu, Mei Yu, Shuhong Zhao

Key Laboratory of Agricultural Animal Genetics, Breeding and Reproduction of Ministry of Education, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, P. R. China

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Zhu M, Yu M, Zhao S. Understanding Quantitative Genetics in the Systems Biology Era. Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5(2):161-170. doi:10.7150/ijbs.5.161. Available from

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Biology is now entering the new era of systems biology and exerting a growing influence on the future development of various disciplines within life sciences. In early classical and molecular periods of Biology, the theoretical frames of classical and molecular quantitative genetics have been systematically established, respectively. With the new advent of systems biology, there is occurring a paradigm shift in the field of quantitative genetics. Where and how the quantitative genetics would develop after having undergone its classical and molecular periods? This is a difficult question to answer exactly. In this perspective article, the major effort was made to discuss the possible development of quantitative genetics in the systems biology era, and for which there is a high potentiality to develop towards "systems quantitative genetics". In our opinion, the systems quantitative genetics can be defined as a new discipline to address the generalized genetic laws of bioalleles controlling the heritable phenotypes of complex traits following a new dynamic network model. Other issues from quantitative genetic perspective relating to the genetical genomics, the updates of network model, and the future research prospects were also discussed.

Keywords: systems quantitative genetics, definition, dynamic network model, prospect