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Within- and across-breed genomic prediction using whole-genome sequence and single nucleotide polymorphism panels

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    Rights statement: © 2016 Iheshiulor et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/ publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15
JournalGenetics Selection Evolution
Issue number1
Early online date19 Feb 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Feb 2016


BACKGROUND: Currently, genomic prediction in cattle is largely based on panels of about 54k single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). However with the decreasing costs of and current advances in next-generation sequencing technologies, whole-genome sequence (WGS) data on large numbers of individuals is within reach. Availability of such data provides new opportunities for genomic selection, which need to be explored.

METHODS: This simulation study investigated how much predictive ability is gained by using WGS data under scenarios with QTL (quantitative trait loci) densities ranging from 45 to 132 QTL/Morgan and heritabilities ranging from 0.07 to 0.30, compared to different SNP densities, with emphasis on divergent dairy cattle breeds with small populations. The relative performances of best linear unbiased prediction (SNP-BLUP) and of a variable selection method with a mixture of two normal distributions (MixP) were also evaluated. Genomic predictions were based on within-population, across-population, and multi-breed reference populations.

RESULTS: The use of WGS data for within-population predictions resulted in small to large increases in accuracy for low to moderately heritable traits. Depending on heritability of the trait, and on SNP and QTL densities, accuracy increased by up to 31 %. The advantage of WGS data was more pronounced (7 to 92 % increase in accuracy depending on trait heritability, SNP and QTL densities, and time of divergence between populations) with a combined reference population and when using MixP. While MixP outperformed SNP-BLUP at 45 QTL/Morgan, SNP-BLUP was as good as MixP when QTL density increased to 132 QTL/Morgan.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that, genomic predictions in numerically small cattle populations would benefit from a combination of WGS data, a multi-breed reference population, and a variable selection method.

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