Optimal breeding-value prediction using a sparse selection index

Genetics. 2021 May 17;218(1):iyab030. doi: 10.1093/genetics/iyab030.


Genomic prediction uses DNA sequences and phenotypes to predict genetic values. In homogeneous populations, theory indicates that the accuracy of genomic prediction increases with sample size. However, differences in allele frequencies and linkage disequilibrium patterns can lead to heterogeneity in SNP effects. In this context, calibrating genomic predictions using a large, potentially heterogeneous, training data set may not lead to optimal prediction accuracy. Some studies tried to address this sample size/homogeneity trade-off using training set optimization algorithms; however, this approach assumes that a single training data set is optimum for all individuals in the prediction set. Here, we propose an approach that identifies, for each individual in the prediction set, a subset from the training data (i.e., a set of support points) from which predictions are derived. The methodology that we propose is a sparse selection index (SSI) that integrates selection index methodology with sparsity-inducing techniques commonly used for high-dimensional regression. The sparsity of the resulting index is controlled by a regularization parameter (λ); the G-Best Linear Unbiased Predictor (G-BLUP) (the prediction method most commonly used in plant and animal breeding) appears as a special case which happens when λ = 0. In this study, we present the methodology and demonstrate (using two wheat data sets with phenotypes collected in 10 different environments) that the SSI can achieve significant (anywhere between 5 and 10%) gains in prediction accuracy relative to the G-BLUP.

Keywords: GenPred; genomic prediction; penalized regression; prediction accuracy; selection index; shared data resources.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Alleles
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Testing / methods*
  • Genomics / methods*
  • Linkage Disequilibrium
  • Models, Genetic
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Quantitative Trait Loci
  • Selection, Genetic / genetics
  • Triticum / genetics