Core-dependent changes in genomic predictions using the algorithm for proven and young in single-step genomic best linear unbiased prediction

Ignacy Misztal, Shogo Tsuruta, Ivan Pocrnic, Daniela A. L. Lourenco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Single-step genomic best linear unbiased prediction with the algorithm for proven and young (APY) is a popular method for large-scale genomic evaluations. With the APY algorithm, animals are designated as core or noncore, and the computing resources to create the inverse of the genomic relationship matrix (GRM) are reduced by inverting only a portion of that matrix for core animals. However, using different core sets of the same size causes fluctuations in genomic estimated breeding values (GEBV) up to one additive standard deviation without affecting prediction accuracy. About 2% of the variation in the genomic relationship matrix is noise. In the recursion formula for APY, the error term modeling the noise is different for every set of core animals, creating changes in breeding values. While average changes are small, and correlations between breeding values estimated with different core animals are close to 1.0, based on the normal distribution theory, outliers can be several times bigger than the average. Tests included commercial datasets from beef and dairy cattle and from pigs. Beyond a certain number of core animals, the prediction accuracy did not improve, but fluctuations decreased with more animals. Fluctuations were much smaller than the possible changes based on prediction error variance. GEBV change over time even for animals with no new data as genomic relationships ties all the genotyped animals, causing reranking of top animals. In contrast, changes in nongenomic models without new data are small. Also, GEBV can change due to details in the model, such as redefinition of contemporary groups or unknown parent groups. In particular, increasing the fraction of blending of the genomic relationship matrix with a pedigree relationship matrix from 5% to 20% caused changes in GEBV up to 0.45 SD, with correlation of GEBV > 0.99. Fluctuations in genomic predictions are part of genomic evaluation models and are also present without the APY algorithm when genomic evaluations are computed with updated data. The best approach to reduce the impact of fluctuations in genomic evaluations is to make selection decisions not on individual animals with limited individual accuracy but on groups of animals with high average accuracy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2020


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