Background: Efficient, robust, and accurate genotype imputation algorithms make large-scale application of genomic selection cost effective. An algorithm that imputes alleles or allele probabilities for all animals in the pedigree and for all genotyped single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) provides a framework to combine all pedigree, genomic, and phenotypic information into a single-stage genomic evaluation.
Methods: An algorithm was developed for imputation of genotypes in pedigreed populations that allows imputation for completely ungenotyped animals and for low-density genotyped animals, accommodates a wide variety of pedigree structures for genotyped animals, imputes unmapped SNP, and works for large datasets. The method involves simple phasing rules, long-range phasing and haplotype library imputation and segregation analysis.
Results: Imputation accuracy was high and computational cost was feasible for datasets with pedigrees of up to 25 000 animals. The resulting single-stage genomic evaluation increased the accuracy of estimated genomic breeding values compared to a scenario in which phenotypes on relatives that were not genotyped were ignored.
Conclusions: The developed imputation algorithm and software and the resulting single-stage genomic evaluation method provide powerful new ways to exploit imputation and to obtain more accurate genetic evaluations.