Genomic prediction within and across biparental families: Means and variances of prediction accuracy and usefulness of deterministic equations

Pascal Schopp, Dominik Müller, Yvonne C.J. Wientjes, Albrecht E. Melchinger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


A major application of genomic prediction (GP) in plant breeding is the identification of superior inbred lines within families derived from biparental crosses. When models for various traits were trained within related or unrelated biparental families (BPFs), experimental studies found substantial variation in prediction accuracy (PA), but little is known about the underlying factors. We used SNP marker genotypes of inbred lines from either elite germplasm or landraces of maize (Zea mays L.) as parents to generate in silico 300 BPFs of doubled-haploid lines. We analyzed PA within each BPF for 50 simulated polygenic traits, using genomic best linear unbiased prediction (GBLUP) models trained with individuals from either full-sib (FSF), half-sib (HSF), or unrelated families (URF) for various sizes (Ntrain) of the training set and different heritabilities (h2). In addition, we modified two deterministic equations for forecasting PA to account for inbreeding and genetic variance unexplained by the training set. Averaged across traits, PA was high within FSF (0.41-0.97) with large variation only for Ntrain, 50 and h2 <0:6: For HSF and URF, PA was on average ~40-60% lower and varied substantially among different combinations of BPFs used for model training and prediction as well as different traits. As exemplified by HSF results, PA of across-family GP can be very low if causal variants not segregating in the training set account for a sizeable proportion of the genetic variance among predicted individuals. Deterministic equations accurately forecast the PA expected over many traits, yet cannot capture trait-specific deviations. We conclude that model training within BPFs generally yields stable PA, whereas a high level of uncertainty is encountered in across-family GP. Our study shows the extent of variation in PA that must be at least reckoned with in practice and offers a starting point for the design of training sets composed of multiple BPFs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3571-3586
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • Biparental families
  • GBLUP deterministic accuracy
  • Genomic prediction
  • Genomic selection
  • Genpred shared data resources
  • Linkage disequilibrium
  • Plant breeding

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