We describe a general statistical framework for the genetic analysis of qua
ntitative trait data in inbred line crosses. Our main result is based on th
e observation that, by conditioning on the unobserved QTL genotypes, the pr
oblem can be split into two statistically independent and manageable parts.
The first part involves only the relationship between the QTL and the phen
otype. The second part involves only the location of the QTL in the genome.
We developed a simple Monte Carlo algorithm to implement Bayesian QTL anal
ysis. This algorithm simulates multiple versions of complete genotype infor
mation on a genomewide grid of locations using information in the marker ge
notype data. Weights are assigned to the simulated genotypes to capture inf
ormation in the phenotype data. The weighted complete genotypes are used to
approximate quantities needed for statistical inference of QTL locations a
nd effect sizes. One advantage of this approach is that only, the weights a
re recomputed as the analyst considers different candidate models. This dev
ice allows the analyst to focus on modeling and model comparisons. The prop
osed framework can accommodate multiple interacting QTL, nonnormal and mult
ivariate phenotypes, covariates, missing genotype YP data, and genotyping e
rrors in any type of inbred line cross. A software tool implementing this p
rocedure is available. We demonstrate our approach to QTL analysis using da
ta from a mouse backcross population that is segregating multiple interacti
ng QTL associated with salt-induced hypertension.