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Genomic estimation of additive and dominance effects and impact of accounting for dominance on accuracy of genomic evaluation in sheep populations

Moghaddar, N., van der Werf, J. H. J.
Journal of animal breeding and genetics 2017 v.134 no.6 pp. 453-462
body composition, breeding value, equations, genetic variance, genomics, genotype, heterosis, phenotypic variation, prediction, purebreds, sheep, single nucleotide polymorphism, statistical analysis, statistical models, variance
The objectives of this study were to estimate the additive and dominance variance component of several weight and ultrasound scanned body composition traits in purebred and combined cross‐bred sheep populations based on single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) marker genotypes and then to investigate the effect of fitting additive and dominance effects on accuracy of genomic evaluation. Additive and dominance variance components were estimated in a mixed model equation based on “average information restricted maximum likelihood” using additive and dominance (co)variances between animals calculated from 48,599 SNP marker genotypes. Genomic prediction was based on genomic best linear unbiased prediction (GBLUP), and the accuracy of prediction was assessed based on a random 10‐fold cross‐validation. Across different weight and scanned body composition traits, dominance variance ranged from 0.0% to 7.3% of the phenotypic variance in the purebred population and from 7.1% to 19.2% in the combined cross‐bred population. In the combined cross‐bred population, the range of dominance variance decreased to 3.1% and 9.9% after accounting for heterosis effects. Accounting for dominance effects significantly improved the likelihood of the fitting model in the combined cross‐bred population. This study showed a substantial dominance genetic variance for weight and ultrasound scanned body composition traits particularly in cross‐bred population; however, improvement in the accuracy of genomic breeding values was small and statistically not significant. Dominance variance estimates in combined cross‐bred population could be overestimated if heterosis is not fitted in the model.