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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Preselection of QTL markers enhances accuracy of genomic selection in Norway spruce

Chen, Zhi-Qiang; Klingberg, Adam; Hallingbaeck, Henrik R.; Wu, Harry X.


Genomic prediction (GP) or genomic selection is a method to predict the accumulative effect of all quantitative trait loci (QTLs) in a population by estimating the realized genomic relationships between the individuals and by capturing the linkage disequilibrium between markers and QTLs. Thus, marker preselection is considered a promising method to capture Mendelian segregation effects. Using QTLs detected in a genome-wide association study (GWAS) may improve GP. Here, we performed GWAS and GP in a population with 904 clones from 32 full-sib families using a newly developed 50 k SNP Norway spruce array. Through GWAS we identified 41 SNPs associated with budburst stage (BB) and the largest effect association explained 5.1% of the phenotypic variation (PVE). For the other five traits such as growth and wood quality traits, only 2 - 13 associations were observed and the PVE of the strongest effects ranged from 1.2% to 2.0%. GP using approximately 100 preselected SNPs, based on the smallest p-values from GWAS showed the greatest predictive ability (PA) for the trait BB. For the other traits, a preselection of 2000-4000 SNPs, was found to offer the best model fit according to the Akaike information criterion being minimized. But PA-magnitudes from GP using such selections were still similar to that of GP using all markers. Analyses on both real-life and simulated data also showed that the inclusion of a large QTL SNP in the model as a fixed effect could improve PA and accuracy of GP provided that the PVE of the QTL was >= 2.5%.


Genomic prediction; Marker preselection; GWAS; Picea abies

Published in

BMC Genomics
2023, Volume: 24, number: 1, article number: 147
Publisher: BMC