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Journal of Animal Science Abstract - Animal Genetics and Genomics

Technical note: Impact of pedigree depth on convergence of single-step genomic BLUP in a purebred swine population1


This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 95 No. 8, p. 3391-3395
    Received: Mar 23, 2017
    Accepted: May 13, 2017
    Published: August 3, 2017

    2 Corresponding author(s):

  1. I. Pocrnic 2*,
  2. D. A. L. Lourenco*,
  3. H. L. Bradford*,
  4. C. Y. Chen and
  5. I. Misztal*
  1. * Department of Animal and Dairy Science, University of Georgia, Athens 30602
     Genus PIC, Hendersonville, TN 37075


In genomic evaluations, it is desirable to have low computing cost while retaining high accuracy of evaluation for young animals. When the population is large but only few animals have phenotypes, especially for low heritability traits, the convergence rate of BLUP or single-step genomic BLUP (ssGBLUP) can be very slow. This study investigates the effect of pedigree truncation on convergence rate and solutions of ssGBLUP for data exhibiting slow convergence. The data consisted of 216,000, 221,000, 732,000, and 579,000 phenotypes on 4 traits. Heritabilities were less than 0.1 for 2 traits and greater than 0.2 for the other 2 traits. The full pedigree consisted of 2.4 million animals. Genotypes were available for 33,000 animals and consisted of 60,000 SNP. Two bivariate animal models were fit using pedigree-based BLUP or ssGBLUP. Either a regular or the algorithm for proven and young (APY) inverse was used for the genomic relationship matrix. Different pedigree depths were analyzed including full pedigree and 1 to 5 ancestral generations. Pedigree depths were defined as n ancestral generations for animals with phenotypes. The number of animals in the reduced pedigrees varied from 226,000 and 760,000 for 1 generation to 228,000 and 767,000 for 5 generations. Genomic EBV (GEBV) for genotyped animals had correlations greater than 0.99 between runs with the full and reduced pedigrees with 2 to 5 generations. A single generation of pedigree was not sufficient to obtain the same GEBV as full pedigree. The convergence rate was the worst with the full pedigree and generally improved with reduced pedigrees. Using ssGBLUP with the APY inverse improved convergence without affecting accuracy. Reducing pedigrees and the APY are important tools to reduce the computational cost in the implementation of ssGBLUP.

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