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On the distance of genetic relationships and the accuracy of genomic prediction in pig breeding

Meuwissen, Theo HE, Odegard, Jorgen, Andersen-Ranberg, Ina, Grindflek, Eli
Genetics, selection, evolution 2014 v.46 no.1 pp. 2669
breeding value, gene frequency, genetic distance, haplotypes, lean meat, livestock breeding, marker-assisted selection, pedigree, phenotype, pork, prediction, quantitative trait loci, single nucleotide polymorphism, swine, teats
BACKGROUND: With the advent of genomic selection, alternative relationship matrices are used in animal breeding, which vary in their coverage of distant relationships due to old common ancestors. Relationships based on pedigree (A) and linkage analysis (G LA) cover only recent relationships because of the limited depth of the known pedigree. Relationships based on identity-by-state (G) include relationships up to the age of the SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) mutations. We hypothesised that the latter relationships were too old, since QTL (quantitative trait locus) mutations for traits under selection were probably more recent than the SNPs on a chip, which are typically selected for high minor allele frequency. In addition, A and G LA relationships are too recent to cover genetic differences accurately. Thus, we devised a relationship matrix that considered intermediate-aged relationships and compared all these relationship matrices for their accuracy of genomic prediction in a pig breeding situation. METHODS: Haplotypes were constructed and used to build a haplotype-based relationship matrix (G H), which considers more intermediate-aged relationships, since haplotypes recombine more quickly than SNPs mutate. Dense genotypes (38 453 SNPs) on 3250 elite breeding pigs were combined with phenotypes for growth rate (2668 records), lean meat percentage (2618), weight at three weeks of age (7387) and number of teats (5851) to estimate breeding values for all animals in the pedigree (8187 animals) using the aforementioned relationship matrices. Phenotypes on the youngest 424 to 486 animals were masked and predicted in order to assess the accuracy of the alternative genomic predictions. RESULTS: Correlations between the relationships and regressions of older on younger relationships revealed that the age of the relationships increased in the order A, G LA , G H and G. Use of genomic relationship matrices yielded significantly higher prediction accuracies than A. G H and G, differed not significantly, but were significantly more accurate than G LA . CONCLUSIONS: Our hypothesis that intermediate-aged relationships yield more accurate genomic predictions than G was confirmed for two of four traits, but these results were not statistically significant. Use of estimated genotype probabilities for ungenotyped animals proved to be an efficient method to include the phenotypes of ungenotyped animals.