Single-Step BLUP with Varying Genotyping Effort in Open-Pollinated Picea glauca.
ABSTRACT: Maximization of genetic gain in forest tree breeding programs is contingent on the accuracy of the predicted breeding values and precision of the estimated genetic parameters. We investigated the effect of the combined use of contemporary pedigree information and genomic relatedness estimates on the accuracy of predicted breeding values and precision of estimated genetic parameters, as well as rankings of selection candidates, using single-step genomic evaluation (HBLUP). In this study, two traits with diverse heritabilities [tree height (HT) and wood density (WD)] were assessed at various levels of family genotyping efforts (0, 25, 50, 75, and 100%) from a population of white spruce (Picea glauca) consisting of 1694 trees from 214 open-pollinated families, representing 43 provenances in Québec, Canada. The results revealed that HBLUP bivariate analysis is effective in reducing the known bias in heritability estimates of open-pollinated populations, as it exposes hidden relatedness, potential pedigree errors, and inbreeding. The addition of genomic information in the analysis considerably improved the accuracy in breeding value estimates by accounting for both Mendelian sampling and historical coancestry that were not captured by the contemporary pedigree alone. Increasing family genotyping efforts were associated with continuous improvement in model fit, precision of genetic parameters, and breeding value accuracy. Yet, improvements were observed even at minimal genotyping effort, indicating that even modest genotyping effort is effective in improving genetic evaluation. The combined utilization of both pedigree and genomic information may be a cost-effective approach to increase the accuracy of breeding values in forest tree breeding programs where shallow pedigrees and large testing populations are the norm.
Project description:Open-pollinated (OP) mating is frequently used in forest tree breeding due to the relative temporal and financial efficiency of the approach. The trade-off is the lower precision of the estimated genetic parameters. Pedigree/sib-ship reconstruction has been proven as a tool to correct and complete pedigree information and to improve the precision of genetic parameter estimates. Our study analyzed an advanced generation Eucalyptus population from an OP breeding program using single-step genetic evaluation. The relationship matrix inferred from sib-ship reconstruction was used to rescale the marker-based relationship matrix (G matrix). This was compared with a second scenario that used rescaling based on the documented pedigree. The proposed single-step model performed better with respect to both model fit and the theoretical accuracy of breeding values. We found that the prediction accuracy was superior when using the pedigree information only when compared with using a combination of the pedigree and genomic information. This pattern appeared to be mainly a result of accumulated unrecognized relatedness over several breeding cycles, resulting in breeding values being shrunk toward the population mean. Using biased, pedigree-based breeding values as the base with which to correlate predicted GEBVs, resulted in the underestimation of prediction accuracies. Using breeding values estimated on the basis of sib-ship reconstruction resulted in increased prediction accuracies of the genotyped individuals. Therefore, selection of the correct base for estimation of prediction accuracy is critical. The beneficial impact of sib-ship reconstruction using G matrix rescaling was profound, especially in traits with inbreeding depression, such as stem diameter.
Project description:The open-pollinated (OP) family testing combines the simplest known progeny evaluation and quantitative genetics analyses as candidates' offspring are assumed to represent independent half-sib families. The accuracy of genetic parameter estimates is often questioned as the assumption of "half-sibling" in OP families may often be violated. We compared the pedigree- vs. marker-based genetic models by analysing 22-yr height and 30-yr wood density for 214 white spruce [Picea glauca (Moench) Voss] OP families represented by 1694 individuals growing on one site in Quebec, Canada. Assuming half-sibling, the pedigree-based model was limited to estimating the additive genetic variances which, in turn, were grossly overestimated as they were confounded by very minor dominance and major additive-by-additive epistatic genetic variances. In contrast, the implemented genomic pairwise realized relationship models allowed the disentanglement of additive from all nonadditive factors through genetic variance decomposition. The marker-based models produced more realistic narrow-sense heritability estimates and, for the first time, allowed estimating the dominance and epistatic genetic variances from OP testing. In addition, the genomic models showed better prediction accuracies compared to pedigree models and were able to predict individual breeding values for new individuals from untested families, which was not possible using the pedigree-based model. Clearly, the use of marker-based relationship approach is effective in estimating the quantitative genetic parameters of complex traits even under simple and shallow pedigree structure.
Project description:Accurate monitoring of genetic diversity levels of seedlots and mating patterns of parents from seed orchards are crucial to ensure that tree breeding programs are long-lasting and will deliver anticipated genetic gains. We used SNP genotyping to characterize founder trees, five bulk seed orchard seedlots, and trees from progeny trials to assess pollen contamination and the impact of severe roguing on genetic diversity and parental contributions in a first-generation open-pollinated white spruce clonal seed orchard. After severe roguing (eliminating 65% of the seed orchard trees), we found a slight reduction in the Shannon Index and a slightly negative inbreeding coefficient, but a sharp decrease in effective population size (eightfold) concomitant with sharp increase in coancestry (eightfold). Pedigree reconstruction showed unequal parental contributions across years with pollen contamination levels between 12 and 51% (average 27%) among seedlots, and 7-68% (average 30%) among individual genotypes within a seedlot. These contamination levels were not correlated with estimates obtained using pollen flight traps. Levels of pollen contamination also showed a Pearson's correlation of 0.92 with wind direction, likely from a pollen source 1 km away from the orchard under study. The achievement of 5% genetic gain in height at rotation through eliminating two-thirds of the orchard thus generated a loss in genetic diversity as determined by the reduction in effective population size. The use of genomic profiles revealed the considerable impact of roguing on genetic diversity, and pedigree reconstruction of full-sib families showed the unanticipated impact of pollen contamination from a previously unconsidered source.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Forest trees can occupy extensive geography and environmentally highly variable areas which result in high genetic variability in the direction of pressure from natural selection. At the same time, the majority of conifer species are wind-pollinated from both short and long distances, resulting in wide-spread gene flow, which can lead to maladaptation to local conditions. Quantitative analyses of provenance/progeny tests correct for genetic differences between populations to ensure unbiased genetic parameters are obtained. Commonly, the provenance effect is fitted as a fixed term or can be implemented as a contemporary group in the pedigree. RESULTS:The use of a provenance effect, either as a fixed term or as the same contemporary groups in both maternal and paternal sides of the pedigree, resulted in fairly similar precision of genetic parameters in our case. However, when we developed a phantom contemporary group for the paternal side of the pedigree that considered a different genetic quality of pollen compared with the maternal contribution from trees in the local environment, the model fit and accuracy of breeding values increased. CONCLUSION:Consideration of the mating dynamics and the vector of gene flow are important factors in modelling contemporary genetic groups, particularly when implementing pedigrees within a mixed model framework to obtain unbiased estimates of genetic parameters. This approach is especially important in traits involved in local adaptation.
Project description:Genomic selection (GS) is being increasingly adopted by the tree breeding community. Most of the GS studies in trees are focused on estimating additive genetic effects. Exploiting the dominance effects offers additional opportunities to improve genetic gain. To detect dominance effects, trait-relevant markers may be important compared to nonselected markers. Here, we used preselected markers to study the dominance effects in a Eucalyptus nitens (E. nitens) breeding population consisting of open-pollinated (OP) and controlled-pollinated (CP) families. We used 8221 trees from six progeny trials in this study. Of these, 868 progeny and 255 parents were genotyped with the E. nitens marker panel. Three traits; diameter at breast height (DBH), wood basic density (DEN), and kraft pulp yield (KPY) were analyzed. Two types of genomic relationship matrices based on identity-by-state (IBS) and identity-by-descent (IBD) were tested. Performance of the genomic best linear unbiased prediction (GBLUP) models with IBS and IBD matrices were compared with pedigree-based additive best linear unbiased prediction (ABLUP) models with and without the pedigree reconstruction. Similarly, the performance of the single-step GBLUP (ssGBLUP) with IBS and IBD matrices were compared with ABLUP models using all 8221 trees. Significant dominance effects were observed with the GBLUP-AD model for DBH. The predictive ability of DBH is higher with the GBLUP-AD model compared to other models. Similarly, the prediction accuracy of genotypic values is higher with GBLUP-AD compared to the GBLUP-A model. Among the two GBLUP models (IBS and IBD), no differences were observed in predictive abilities and prediction accuracies. While the estimates of predictive ability with additive effects were similar among all four models, prediction accuracies of ABLUP were lower than the GBLUP models. The prediction accuracy of ssGBLUP-IBD is higher than the other three models while the theoretical accuracy of ssGBLUP-IBS is consistently higher than the other three models across all three groups tested (parents, genotyped, and nongenotyped). Significant inbreeding depression was observed for DBH and KPY. While there is a linear relationship between inbreeding and DBH, the relationship between inbreeding and KPY is nonlinear and quadratic. These results indicate that the inbreeding depression of DBH is mainly due to directional dominance while in KPY it may be due to epistasis. Inbreeding depression may be the main source of the observed dominance effects in DBH. The significant dominance effect observed for DBH may be used to select complementary parents to improve the genetic merit of the progeny in E. nitens.
Project description:Genomic selection (GS) has a large potential for improving the prediction accuracy of breeding values and significantly reducing the length of breeding cycles. In this context, the choice of mating designs becomes critical to improve the efficiency of breeding operations and to obtain the largest genetic gains per time unit. Polycross mating designs have been traditionally used in tree and plant breeding to perform backward selection of the female parents. The possibility to use genetic markers for paternity identification and for building genomic prediction models should allow for a broader use of polycross tests in forward selection schemes. We compared the accuracies of genomic predictions of offspring's breeding values from a polycross and a full-sib (partial diallel) mating design with similar genetic background in white spruce (Picea glauca). Trees were phenotyped for growth and wood quality traits, and genotyped for 4092 SNPs representing as many gene loci distributed across the 12 spruce chromosomes. For the polycross progeny test, heritability estimates were smaller, but more precise using the genomic BLUP (GBLUP) model as compared with pedigree-based models accounting for the maternal pedigree or for the reconstructed full pedigree. Cross-validations showed that GBLUP predictions were 22-52% more accurate than predictions based on the maternal pedigree, and 5-7% more accurate than predictions using the reconstructed full pedigree. The accuracies of GBLUP predictions were high and in the same range for most traits between the polycross (0.61-0.70) and full-sib progeny tests (0.61-0.74). However, higher genetic gains per time unit were expected from the polycross mating design given the shorter time needed to conduct crosses. Considering the operational advantages of the polycross design in terms of easier handling of crosses and lower associated costs for test establishment, we believe that this mating scheme offers great opportunities for the development and operational application of forward GS.
Project description:Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) is a species of high economic value for the aquaculture industry, and of high ecological value due to its Holarctic distribution in both marine and freshwater environments. Novel genome sequencing approaches enable the study of population and quantitative genetic parameters even on species with limited or no prior genomic resources. Low coverage genotyping by sequencing (GBS) was applied in a selected strain of Arctic charr in Sweden originating from a landlocked freshwater population. For the needs of the current study, animals from year classes 2013 (171 animals, parental population) and 2017 (759 animals; 13 full sib families) were used as a template for identifying genome wide single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). GBS libraries were constructed using the PstI and MspI restriction enzymes. Approximately 14.5K SNPs passed quality control and were used for estimating a genomic relationship matrix. Thereafter a wide range of analyses were conducted in order to gain insights regarding genetic diversity and investigate the efficiency of the genomic information for parentage assignment and breeding value estimation. Heterozygosity estimates for both year classes suggested a slight excess of heterozygotes. Furthermore, FST estimates among the families of year class 2017 ranged between 0.009 - 0.066. Principal components analysis (PCA) and discriminant analysis of principal components (DAPC) were applied aiming to identify the existence of genetic clusters among the studied population. Results obtained were in accordance with pedigree records allowing the identification of individual families. Additionally, DNA parentage verification was performed, with results in accordance with the pedigree records with the exception of a putative dam where full sib genotypes suggested a potential recording error. Breeding value estimation for juvenile growth through the usage of the estimated genomic relationship matrix clearly outperformed the pedigree equivalent in terms of prediction accuracy (0.51 opposed to 0.31). Overall, low coverage GBS has proven to be a cost-effective genotyping platform that is expected to boost the selection efficiency of the Arctic charr breeding program.
Project description:Progeny test trials in British Columbia are essential in assessing the genetic performance via the prediction of breeding values (BVs) for target phenotypes of parent trees and their offspring. Accurate and timely collection of phenotypic data is critical for estimating BVs with confidence. Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) data have been used to measure tree height and structure across a wide range of species, ages and environments globally. Here, we analyzed a Coastal Douglas-fir [Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii (Mirb.)] progeny test trial located in British Columbia, Canada, using individual tree high-density Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) metrics and traditional ground-based phenotypic observations. Narrow-sense heritability, genetic correlations, and BVs were estimated using pedigree-based single and multi-trait linear models for 43 traits. Comparisons of genetic parameter estimates between ALS metrics and traditional ground-based measures and single- and multi-trait models were conducted based on the accuracy and precision of the estimates. BVs were estimated for two ALS models (ALSCAN and ALSACC) representing two model-building approaches and compared to a baseline model using field-measured traits. The ALSCAN model used metrics reflecting aspects of vertical distribution of biomass within trees, while ALSACC represented the most statistically accurate model. We report that the accuracy of both the ALSCAN (0.8239) and ALSACC (0.8254) model-derived BVs for mature tree height is a suitable proxy for ground-based mature tree height BVs (0.8316). Given the cost efficiency of ALS, forest geneticists should explore this technology as a viable tool to increase breeding programs’ overall efficiency and cost savings.
Project description:Replacement of the average numerator relationship matrix derived from the pedigree with the realized genomic relationship matrix based on DNA markers might be an attractive strategy in forest tree breeding for predictions of genetic merit. We used genotypes from 3461 single-nucleotide polymorphism loci to estimate genomic relationships for a population of 165 loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) individuals. Phenotypes of the 165 individuals were obtained from clonally replicated field trials and were used to estimate breeding values for growth (stem volume). Two alternative methods, based on allele frequencies or regression, were used to generate the genomic relationship matrices. The accuracies of genomic estimated breeding values based on the genomic relationship matrices and breeding values estimated based on the average numerator relationship matrix were compared. On average, the accuracy of predictions based on genomic relationships ranged between 0.37 and 0.74 depending on the validation method. We did not detect differences in the accuracy of predictions based on genomic relationship matrices estimated by two different methods. Using genomic relationship matrices allowed modeling of Mendelian segregation within full-sib families, an important advantage over a traditional genetic evaluation system based on pedigree. We conclude that estimation of genomic relationships could be a powerful tool in forest tree breeding because it accurately accounts both for genetic relationships among individuals and for nuisance effects such as location and replicate effects, and makes more accurate selection possible within full-sib crosses.
Project description:A genomic selection study of growth and wood quality traits is reported based on control-pollinated Norway spruce families established in 2 Northern Swedish trials at 2 locations using exome capture as a genotyping platform. Nonadditive effects including dominance and first-order epistatic interactions (including additive-by-additive, dominance-by-dominance, and additive-by-dominance) and marker-by-environment interaction (M×E) effects were dissected in genomic and phenotypic selection models. Genomic selection models partitioned additive and nonadditive genetic variances more precisely than pedigree-based models. In addition, predictive ability in GS was substantially increased by including dominance and slightly increased by including M×E effects when these effects are significant. For velocity, response to genomic selection per year increased up to 78.9/80.8%, 86.9/82.9%, and 91.3/88.2% compared with response to phenotypic selection per year when genomic selection was based on 1) main marker effects (M), 2) M + M×E effects (A), and 3) A + dominance effects (AD) for sites 1 and 2, respectively. This indicates that including M×E and dominance effects not only improves genetic parameter estimates but also when they are significant may improve the genetic gain. For tree height, Pilodyn, and modulus of elasticity (MOE), response to genomic selection per year improved up to 68.9%, 91.3%, and 92.6% compared with response to phenotypic selection per year, respectively.Subject Area: Quantitative genetics and Mendelian inheritance.