Efficient large-scale single-step evaluations and indirect genomic prediction of genotyped selection candidates

Jeremie Vandenplas*, Jan ten Napel, Saeid Naderi Darbaghshahi, Ross Evans, Mario P.L. Calus, Roel Veerkamp, Andrew Cromie, Esa A. Mäntysaari, Ismo Strandén

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Single-step genomic best linear unbiased prediction (ssGBLUP) models allow the combination of genomic, pedigree, and phenotypic data into a single model, which is computationally challenging for large genotyped populations. In practice, genotypes of animals without their own phenotype and progeny, so-called genotyped selection candidates, can become available after genomic breeding values have been estimated by ssGBLUP. In some breeding programmes, genomic estimated breeding values (GEBV) for these animals should be known shortly after obtaining genotype information but recomputing GEBV using the full ssGBLUP takes too much time. In this study, first we compare two equivalent formulations of ssGBLUP models, i.e. one that is based on the Woodbury matrix identity applied to the inverse of the genomic relationship matrix, and one that is based on marker equations. Second, we present computationally-fast approaches to indirectly compute GEBV for genotyped selection candidates, without the need to do the full ssGBLUP evaluation. Results: The indirect approaches use information from the latest ssGBLUP evaluation and rely on the decomposition of GEBV into its components. The two equivalent ssGBLUP models and indirect approaches were tested on a six-trait calving difficulty model using Irish dairy and beef cattle data that include 2.6 million genotyped animals of which about 500,000 were considered as genotyped selection candidates. When using the same computational approaches, the solving phase of the two equivalent ssGBLUP models showed similar requirements for memory and time per iteration. The computational differences between them were due to the preprocessing phase of the genomic information. Regarding the indirect approaches, compared to GEBV obtained from single-step evaluations including all genotypes, indirect GEBV had correlations higher than 0.99 for all traits while showing little dispersion and level bias. Conclusions: In conclusion, ssGBLUP predictions for the genotyped selection candidates were accurately approximated using the presented indirect approaches, which are more memory efficient and computationally fast, compared to solving a full ssGBLUP evaluation. Thus, indirect approaches can be used even on a weekly basis to estimate GEBV for newly genotyped animals, while the full single-step evaluation is done only a few times within a year.

Original languageEnglish
Article number37
JournalGenetics Selection Evolution
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2023


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