Reliabilities of estimated breeding values in models with metafounders - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles Genetics Selection Evolution Year : 2023

Reliabilities of estimated breeding values in models with metafounders


Abstract Background Reliabilities of best linear unbiased predictions (BLUP) of breeding values are defined as the squared correlation between true and estimated breeding values and are helpful in assessing risk and genetic gain. Reliabilities can be computed from the prediction error variances for models with a single base population but are undefined for models that include several base populations and when unknown parent groups are modeled as fixed effects. In such a case, the use of metafounders in principle enables reliabilities to be derived. Methods We propose to compute the reliability of the contrast of an individual’s estimated breeding value with that of a metafounder based on the prediction error variances of the individual and the metafounder, their prediction error covariance, and their genetic relationship. Computation of the required terms demands only little extra work once the sparse inverse of the mixed model equations is obtained, or they can be approximated. This also allows the reliabilities of the metafounders to be obtained. We studied the reliabilities for both BLUP and single-step genomic BLUP (ssGBLUP), using several definitions of reliability in a large dataset with 1,961,687 dairy sheep and rams, most of which had phenotypes and among which 27,000 rams were genotyped with a 50K single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) chip. There were 23 metafounders with progeny sizes between 100,000 and 2000 individuals. Results In models with metafounders, directly using the prediction error variance instead of the contrast with a metafounder leads to artificially low reliabilities because they refer to a population with maximum heterozygosity. When only one metafounder is fitted in the model, the reliability of the contrast is shown to be equivalent to the reliability of the individual in a model without metafounders. When there are several metafounders in the model, using a contrast with the oldest metafounder yields reliabilities that are on a meaningful scale and very close to reliabilities obtained from models without metafounders. The reliabilities using contrasts with ssGBLUP also resulted in meaningful values. Conclusions This work provides a general method to obtain reliabilities for both BLUP and ssGBLUP when several base populations are included through metafounders.
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hal-03993701 , version 1 (17-02-2023)




Matias Bermann, Ignacio Aguilar, Daniela Lourenco, Ignacy Misztal, Andres Legarra. Reliabilities of estimated breeding values in models with metafounders. Genetics Selection Evolution, 2023, 55 (1), pp.6. ⟨10.1186/s12711-023-00778-2⟩. ⟨hal-03993701⟩
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