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Method to estimate genotype probabilities at individual loci in farm livestock


A Bayesian method to estimate genotype probabilities at a single locus using information on the individual and all its relatives and their mates has been developed. The method uses data over several generations, can deal with large numbers of individuals in large livestock families and allows for missing information. It can be extended to multiple alleles and can be used for autosomal or sex-linked loci. The allele frequencies and the form of expression (dominance, penetrance) must be specified. An algorithm using the method and involving an iterative procedure has been developed to calculate the genotype probabilities for practical use in livestock breeding. The method and algorithm were used to determine the accuracy of estimating genotype probabilities of sires for a female sex-limited trait, such as genetic variants of milk proteins. Data were similated and genotype probabilities estimated for 100 sires (20 replicates) with 3, 6 and 12 female offspring per sire, for different population frequencies, for additive and dominance gene action and for variable genotypic expression. Such simulation is useful in the design of testing systems for the use of information on specific genetic loci in selection.

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Prepared during a leave at Centre for Genetic Improvement of Livestock, Guelph, Canada

Communicated by E.J. Eisen

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van Arendonk, J.A.M., Smith, C. & Kennedy, B.W. Method to estimate genotype probabilities at individual loci in farm livestock. Theoret. Appl. Genetics 78, 735–740 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00262571

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Key words

  • Individual loci
  • Estimation
  • Genetic counseling
  • Genotype probabilities
  • Accuracy