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Accounting for genotype uncertainty in the estimation of allele frequencies in autopolyploids
- Blischak, Paul D., Kubatko, Laura S., Wolfe, Andrea D.
- Molecular ecology resources 2016 v.16 no.3 pp. 742-754
- alleles, autopolyploidy, computer software, data collection, gene frequency, heterozygosity, hexaploidy, high-throughput nucleotide sequencing, restriction endonucleases, single nucleotide polymorphism, statistical models, tetraploidy, uncertainty
- Despite the increasing opportunity to collect large‐scale data sets for population genomic analyses, the use of high‐throughput sequencing to study populations of polyploids has seen little application. This is due in large part to problems associated with determining allele copy number in the genotypes of polyploid individuals (allelic dosage uncertainty–ADU), which complicates the calculation of important quantities such as allele frequencies. Here, we describe a statistical model to estimate biallelic SNP frequencies in a population of autopolyploids using high‐throughput sequencing data in the form of read counts. We bridge the gap from data collection (using restriction enzyme based techniques [e.g. GBS, RADseq]) to allele frequency estimation in a unified inferential framework using a hierarchical Bayesian model to sum over genotype uncertainty. Simulated data sets were generated under various conditions for tetraploid, hexaploid and octoploid populations to evaluate the model's performance and to help guide the collection of empirical data. We also provide an implementation of our model in the R package polyfreqs and demonstrate its use with two example analyses that investigate (i) levels of expected and observed heterozygosity and (ii) model adequacy. Our simulations show that the number of individuals sampled from a population has a greater impact on estimation error than sequencing coverage. The example analyses also show that our model and software can be used to make inferences beyond the estimation of allele frequencies for autopolyploids by providing assessments of model adequacy and estimates of heterozygosity.