Comparing strategies for selection of low-density SNPs for imputation-mediated genomic prediction in U. S. Holsteins

Genetica. 2018 Apr;146(2):137-149. doi: 10.1007/s10709-017-0004-9. Epub 2017 Dec 14.


SNP chips are commonly used for genotyping animals in genomic selection but strategies for selecting low-density (LD) SNPs for imputation-mediated genomic selection have not been addressed adequately. The main purpose of the present study was to compare the performance of eight LD (6K) SNP panels, each selected by a different strategy exploiting a combination of three major factors: evenly-spaced SNPs, increased minor allele frequencies, and SNP-trait associations either for single traits independently or for all the three traits jointly. The imputation accuracies from 6K to 80K SNP genotypes were between 96.2 and 98.2%. Genomic prediction accuracies obtained using imputed 80K genotypes were between 0.817 and 0.821 for daughter pregnancy rate, between 0.838 and 0.844 for fat yield, and between 0.850 and 0.863 for milk yield. The two SNP panels optimized on the three major factors had the highest genomic prediction accuracy (0.821-0.863), and these accuracies were very close to those obtained using observed 80K genotypes (0.825-0.868). Further exploration of the underlying relationships showed that genomic prediction accuracies did not respond linearly to imputation accuracies, but were significantly affected by genotype (imputation) errors of SNPs in association with the traits to be predicted. SNPs optimal for map coverage and MAF were favorable for obtaining accurate imputation of genotypes whereas trait-associated SNPs improved genomic prediction accuracies. Thus, optimal LD SNP panels were the ones that combined both strengths. The present results have practical implications on the design of LD SNP chips for imputation-enabled genomic prediction.

Keywords: Genomic prediction; Holstein; Imputation; Low-density SNP chips.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genomics / methods*
  • Genotype
  • Male
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • United States