This study was conducted to assess the genetic basis and develop a regression model for a QTL trait, fruit setting of a full sib population of 164 hybrids obtained between 'Clementine' mandarin (Citrus reticulata Blanco 'Clementine) and 'Orlando' tangelo' (Citrus paradisi Macf. 'Duncan' x C. reticulata Blanco 'Dancy'). Fruit setting of a 164 full sib population field-planted in 2007 was evaluated by visual counting of fruits in 2008, 2009, and 2010. We estimated linkage groups and effects of QTLs by using MapQTL5. Based on interval mapping, seven linkage groups of the maternal and eight linkage groups of the paternal maps harboured QTLs of the fruits setting, covering a total 300 of 1744 cM Citrus map. Only three segments were associated with all three-year data (one in 'Clementine' and two in 'Orlando' map) spanning 60 cM of 1744 cM of Citrus linkage map. Twenty-seven (17%) and 13 (8%) hybrids consistently produced less than 5 fruits and the highest number of fruits (>= 50) in their 2nd. 3rd, and 4th ages. Based on BACKWARD elimination procedure of PROC REG option nested in SAS program, regression models constructed for 2008, 2009, and 2010s fruit setting explained 35, 81, and 38% of the total phenotypic variation (R(2)) observed in the 164 full-sib hybrids, respectively (P <= 0.05). This study indicated that early fruit setting was a complex trait affected by many QTLs and the regression model developed in this study might be used to predict performances of hybrids with similar genetic background. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.