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J. Dairy Sci. 2008. 91:4414-4423. doi:10.3168/jds.2007-0980
2008 American Dairy Science Association

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Efficient Methods to Compute Genomic Predictions

P. M. VanRaden1

Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, MD 20705-2350

1 Corresponding author: paul.vanraden{at}ars.usda.gov

Efficient methods for processing genomic data were developed to increase reliability of estimated breeding values and to estimate thousands of marker effects simultaneously. Algorithms were derived and computer programs tested with simulated data for 2,967 bulls and 50,000 markers distributed randomly across 30 chromosomes. Estimation of genomic inbreeding coefficients required accurate estimates of allele frequencies in the base population. Linear model predictions of breeding values were computed by 3 equivalent methods: 1) iteration for individual allele effects followed by summation across loci to obtain estimated breeding values, 2) selection index including a genomic relationship matrix, and 3) mixed model equations including the inverse of genomic relationships. A blend of first- and second-order Jacobi iteration using 2 separate relaxation factors converged well for allele frequencies and effects. Reliability of predicted net merit for young bulls was 63% compared with 32% using the traditional relationship matrix. Nonlinear predictions were also computed using iteration on data and nonlinear regression on marker deviations; an additional (about 3%) gain in reliability for young bulls increased average reliability to 66%. Computing times increased linearly with number of genotypes. Estimation of allele frequencies required 2 processor days, and genomic predictions required <1 d per trait, and traits were processed in parallel. Information from genotyping was equivalent to about 20 daughters with phenotypic records. Actual gains may differ because the simulation did not account for linkage disequilibrium in the base population or selection in subsequent generations.

Key Words: genomic selection mixed model computer program relationship matrix







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