Use of a Bayesian model including QTL markers increases prediction reliability when test animals are distant from the reference population

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Relatedness between reference and test animals has an important effect on the reliability of genomic prediction for test animals. Because genomic prediction has been widely applied in practical cattle breeding and bulls have been selected according to genomic breeding value without progeny testing, the sires or grandsires of candidates might not have phenotypic information and might not be in the reference population when the candidates are selected. The objective of this study was to investigate the decreasing trend of the reliability of genomic prediction given distant reference populations, using genomic best linear unbiased prediction (GBLUP) and Bayesian variable selection models with or without including the quantitative trait locus (QTL) markers detected from sequencing data. The data used in this study consisted of 22,242 bulls genotyped using the 54K SNP array from EuroGenomics. Among them, 1,444 Danish bulls born from 2006 to 2010 were selected as test animals. Different reference populations with varying relationships to test animals were created according to pedigree-based relationships. The reference individuals having a relationship with one or more test animals higher than 0.4 (scenario ρ < 0.4), 0.2 (ρ < 0.2), or 0.1 (ρ < 0.1, where ρ = relationship coefficient) were removed from reference sets; these represented the distance between reference and test animals being 2 generations, 3 generations, and 4 generations, respectively. Imputed whole-genome sequencing data of bulls from Denmark were used to conduct a genome-wide association study (GWAS). A small number of significant variants (QTL markers) from the GWAS were added to the array data. To compare the effects of different models, the basic GBLUP model, a Bayesian selection variable model, a GBLUP model with 2 components of genetic effects, and a Bayesian model with pooled array data and QTL markers were used for estimating genomic estimated breeding values (GEBV) of test animals. The reliability of genomic prediction decreased when the test animals were more generations away from the reference population. The reliability of genomic prediction was 0.461 for 1 generation away and 0.396 for 3 generations away, with the same number of individuals in the reference set, using a GBLUP model with chip markers only. The results showed that using the Bayesian method and QTL markers improved the reliability of genomic prediction in all scenarios of relationship between test and reference animals, in a range of 1.3% and 65.1% (4 generations away with only 841 individuals in the reference set). However, most gains were for predictions of milk yield and fat yield. There was little improvement for predictions of protein yield and mastitis, and no improvement for prediction of fertility, except for scenario ρ < 0.1, in which there was a large improvement for predictions of all traits. On the other hand, models including more than 10% polygenic effect decreased prediction reliability when the relationship between test and reference animals was distant.

TidsskriftJournal of Dairy Science
Sider (fra-til)7237-7247
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - 2019

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