Comparison of genomic and traditional BLUP-estimated breeding value accuracy and selection response under alternative trait and genomic parameters


W.M. Muir, Professor Genetics, Department of Animal Sciences, Room G406 Lilly Hall, Purdue University, W. Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.
Tel: 765-494-8032;


Accuracy of prediction of estimated breeding values based on genome-wide markers (GEBV) and selection based on GEBV as compared with traditional Best Linear Unbiased Prediction (BLUP) was examined for a number of alternatives, including low heritability, number of generations of training, marker density, initial distributions, and effective population size (Ne). Results show that the more the generations of data in which both genotypes and phenotypes were collected, termed training generations (TG), the better the accuracy and persistency of accuracy based on GEBV. GEBV excelled for traits of low heritability regardless of initial equilibrium conditions, as opposed to traditional marker-assisted selection, which is not useful for traits of low heritability. Effective population size is critical for populations starting in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium but not for populations started from mutation-drift equilibrium. In comparison with traditional BLUP, GEBV can exceed the accuracy of BLUP provided enough TG are included. Unfortunately selection rapidly reduces the accuracy of GEBV. In all cases examined, classic BLUP selection exceeds what was possible for GEBV selection. Even still, GEBV could have an advantage over traditional BLUP in cases such as sex-limited traits, traits that are expensive to measure, or can only be measured on relatives. A combined approach, utilizing a mixed model with a second random effect to account for quantitative trait loci in linkage equilibrium (the polygenic effect) was suggested as a way to capitalize on both methodologies.