Genomic selection has been widely implemented in national and international genetic evaluation in the dairy cattle industry, because of its potential advantages over traditional selection methods and the availability of commercial high-density (HD) single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) panels. However, this method may not be cost-effective for cow selection and for other livestock species, because the cost of HD SNP panels is still relatively high. One possible solution that can enable other species to benefit from this promising method is genomic selection with low-density (LD) SNP panels. In this simulation study, LD SNP panels designed with different strategies and different SNP densities were compared. The effects of number of quantitative trait loci, heritability, and effective population size were evaluated in the framework of genomic selection with LD SNP panels. Methodologies of Bayesian variable selection; BLUP with a trait-specific, marker-derived relationship matrix; and BLUP with a realized relationship matrix were employed to predict genomic estimated breeding values with both HD and LD SNP panels. Up to 95% of accuracy obtained by using an HD panel can be obtained by using only a small proportion of markers. The LD panel with markers selected on the basis of their effects always performs better than the LD panel with evenly spaced markers. Both the genetic architecture of the trait and the effective population size have a significant effect on the performance of the LD panels. We concluded that, to implement genomic selection with LD panels, a training population of sufficient size and genotyped with an HD panel is necessary. The trade-off between the LD panels with evenly spaced markers and selected markers must be considered, which depends on the number of target traits in a breeding program and the genetic architecture of these traits. Genomic selection with LD panels could be feasible and cost-effective, though before implementation, a further detailed genetic and economic analysis is recommended.
Copyright © 2011 American Dairy Science Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.