Genomic prediction for crossbred performance using metafounders

Elizabeth M. van Grevenhof, Jérémie Vandenplas, Mario P.L. Calus*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Future genomic evaluation models to be used routinely in breeding programs for pigs and poultry need to be able to optimally use information of crossbred (CB) animals to predict breeding values for CB performance of purebred (PB) selection candidates. Important challenges in the commonly used single-step genomic best linear unbiased prediction (ssGBLUP) model are the definition of relationships between the different line compositions and the definition of the base generation per line. The use of metafounders (MFs) in ssGBLUP has been proposed to overcome these issues. When relationships between lines are known to be different from 0, the use of MFs generalizes the concept of genetic groups relying on the genotype data. Our objective was to investigate the effect of using MFs in genomic prediction for CB performance on estimated variance components, and accuracy and bias of GEBV. This was studied using stochastic simulation to generate data representing a three-way crossbreeding scheme in pigs, with the parental lines being either closely related or unrelated. Results show that using MFs, the variance components should be scaled appropriately, especially when basing them on estimates obtained with, for example a pedigree-based model. The accuracies of GEBV that were obtained using MFs were similar to accuracies without using MFs, regardless whether the lines involved in the CB were closely related or unrelated. The use of MFs resulted in a model that had similar or somewhat better convergence properties compared to other models. We recommend the use of MFs in ssGBLUP for genomic evaluations in crossbreeding schemes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)548-558
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


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