Background: For a two-breed crossbreeding system, Wei and van der Werf presented a model for genetic evaluation using information from both purebred and crossbred animals. The model provides breeding values for both purebred and crossbred performances. Genomic evaluation incorporates marker genotypes into a genetic evaluation system. Among popular methods are the so-called single-step methods, in which marker genotypes are incorporated into a traditional animal model by using a combined relationship matrix that extends the marker-based relationship matrix to non-genotyped animals. However, a single-step method for genomic evaluation of both purebred and crossbred performances has not been developed yet.
Results: An extension of the Wei and van der Werf model that incorporates genomic information is presented. The extension consists of four steps: (1) the Wei van der Werf model is reformulated using two partial relationship matrices for the two breeds; (2) marker-based partial relationship matrices are constructed; (3) marker-based partial relationship matrices are adjusted to be compatible to pedigree-based partial relationship matrices and (4) combined partial relationship matrices are constructed using information from both pedigree and marker genotypes. The extension of the Wei van der Werf model can be implemented using software that allows inverse covariance matrices in sparse format as input.
Conclusions: A method for genomic evaluation of both purebred and crossbred performances was developed for a two-breed crossbreeding system. The method allows information from crossbred animals to be incorporated in a coherent manner for such crossbreeding systems.