Genomic correlation: harnessing the benefit of combining two unrelated populations for genomic selectionReport as inadecuate

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Genetics Selection Evolution

, 47:84

First Online: 02 November 2015Received: 05 February 2015Accepted: 16 October 2015


BackgroundThe success of genomic selection in animal breeding hinges on the availability of a large reference population on which genomic-based predictions of additive genetic or breeding values are built. Here, we explore the benefit of combining two unrelated populations into a single reference population.

MethodsThe datasets consisted of 1829 Brahman and 1973 Tropical Composite cattle with measurements on five phenotypes relevant to tropical adaptation and genotypes for 71,726 genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms SNPs. The underlying genomic correlation for the same phenotype across the two breeds was explored on the basis of consistent linkage disequilibrium LD phase and marker effects in both breeds.

ResultsThe proportion of genetic variance explained by the entire set of SNPs ranged from 37.5 to 57.6 %. Estimated genomic correlations were drastically affected by the process used to select SNPs and went from near 0 to more than 0.80 for most traits when using the set of SNPs with significant effects and the same LD phase in the two breeds. We found that, by carefully selecting the subset of SNPs, the missing heritability can be largely recovered and accuracies in genomic predictions can be improved six-fold. However, the increases in accuracy might come at the expense of large biases.

ConclusionsOur results offer hope for the effective implementation of genomic selection schemes in situations where the number of breeds is large, the sample size within any single breed is small and the breeding objective includes many phenotypes.

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Author: Laercio R. Porto-Neto - William Barendse - John M. Henshall - Sean M. McWilliam - Sigrid A. Lehnert - Antonio Reverter


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