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Research article2020Peer reviewedOpen access

Linkage disequilibrium vs. pedigree: Genomic selection prediction accuracy in conifer species

Thistlethwaite, Frances R.; El-Dien, Omnia Gamal; Ratcliffe, Blaise; Klapste, Jaroslav; Porth, Ilga; Chen, Charles; Stoehr, Michael U.; Ingvarsson, Par K.; El-Kassaby, Yousry A.


BackgroundThe presupposition of genomic selection (GS) is that predictive accuracies should be based on population-wide linkage disequilibrium (LD). However, in species with large, highly complex genomes the limitation of marker density may preclude the ability to resolve LD accurately enough for GS. Here we investigate such an effect in two conifer species with similar to 20 Gbp genomes, Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesiiMirb. (Franco)) and Interior spruce (Picea glauca(Moench) Voss xPicea engelmanniiParry ex Engelm.). Random sampling of markers was performed to obtain SNP sets with totals in the range of 200-50,000, this was replicated 10 times. Ridge Regression Best Linear Unbiased Predictor (RR-BLUP) was deployed as the GS method to test these SNP sets, and 10-fold cross-validation was performed on 1,321 Douglas-fir trees, representing 37 full-sib F(1)families and on 1,126 Interior spruce trees, representing 25 open-pollinated (half-sib) families. Both trials are located on 3 sites in British Columbia, Canada.ResultsAs marker number increased, so did GS predictive accuracy for both conifer species. However, a plateau in the gain of accuracy became apparent around 10,000-15,000 markers for both Douglas-fir and Interior spruce. Despite random marker selection, little variation in predictive accuracy was observed across replications. On average, Douglas-fir prediction accuracies were higher than those of Interior spruce, reflecting the difference between full- and half-sib families for Douglas-fir and Interior spruce populations, respectively, as well as their respective effective population size.ConclusionsAlthough possibly advantageous within an advanced breeding population, reducing marker density cannot be recommended for carrying out GS in conifers. Significant LD between markers and putative causal variants was not detected using 50,000 SNPS, and GS was enabled only through the tracking of relatedness in the populations studied. Dramatically increasing marker density would enable said markers to better track LD with causal variants in these large, genetically diverse genomes; as well as providing a model that could be used across populations, breeding programs, and traits.

Published in

2020, Volume: 15, number: 6, article number: e0232201

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science

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