RAFFI: Accurate and fast familial relationship inference in large scale biobank studies using RaPID

PLoS Genet. 2021 Jan 21;17(1):e1009315. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009315. eCollection 2021 Jan.


Inference of relationships from whole-genome genetic data of a cohort is a crucial prerequisite for genome-wide association studies. Typically, relationships are inferred by computing the kinship coefficients (ϕ) and the genome-wide probability of zero IBD sharing (π0) among all pairs of individuals. Current leading methods are based on pairwise comparisons, which may not scale up to very large cohorts (e.g., sample size >1 million). Here, we propose an efficient relationship inference method, RAFFI. RAFFI leverages the efficient RaPID method to call IBD segments first, then estimate the ϕ and π0 from detected IBD segments. This inference is achieved by a data-driven approach that adjusts the estimation based on phasing quality and genotyping quality. Using simulations, we showed that RAFFI is robust against phasing/genotyping errors, admix events, and varying marker densities, and achieves higher accuracy compared to KING, the current leading method, especially for more distant relatives. When applied to the phased UK Biobank data with ~500K individuals, RAFFI is approximately 18 times faster than KING. We expect RAFFI will offer fast and accurate relatedness inference for even larger cohorts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Specimen Banks
  • Genome, Human / genetics
  • Genome-Wide Association Study / statistics & numerical data*
  • Genotyping Techniques / statistics & numerical data*
  • Haplotypes / genetics
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Pedigree
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics