Evaluation of sequencing strategies for whole-genome imputation with hybrid peeling

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Ros Freixedes, RogerRos Freixedes, Roger - ORCID ID
Whalen, Andrew
Gorjanc, Gregor
Mileham, Alan J.
Hickey, John M.
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cc-by (c) Ros Freixedes, Roger et al., 2020
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Background: For assembling large whole-genome sequence datasets for routine use in research and breeding, the sequencing strategy should be adapted to the methods that will be used later for variant discovery and imputation. In this study, we used simulation to explore the impact that the sequencing strategy and level of sequencing investment have on the overall accuracy of imputation using hybrid peeling, a pedigree-based imputation method that is well suited for large livestock populations. Methods: We simulated marker array and whole-genome sequence data for 15 populations with simulated or real pedigrees that had different structures. In these populations, we evaluated the effect on imputation accuracy of seven methods for selecting which individuals to sequence, the generation of the pedigree to which the sequenced individuals belonged, the use of variable or uniform coverage, and the trade-off between the number of sequenced individuals and their sequencing coverage. For each population, we considered four levels of investment in sequencing that were proportional to the size of the population. Results: Imputation accuracy depended greatly on pedigree depth. The distribution of the sequenced individuals across the generations of the pedigree underlay the performance of the different methods used to select individuals to sequence and it was critical for achieving high imputation accuracy in both early and late generations. Imputation accuracy was highest with a uniform coverage across the sequenced individuals of 2× rather than variable coverage. An investment equivalent to the cost of sequencing 2% of the population at 2× provided high imputation accuracy. The gain in imputation accuracy from additional investment decreased with larger populations and higher levels of investment. However, to achieve the same imputation accuracy, a proportionally greater investment must be used in the smaller populations compared to the larger ones. Conclusions: Suitable sequencing strategies for subsequent imputation with hybrid peeling involve sequencing ~2% of the population at a uniform coverage 2×, distributed preferably across all generations of the pedigree, except for the few earliest generations that lack genotyped ancestors. Such sequencing strategies are beneficial for generating whole-genome sequence data in populations with deep pedigrees of closely related individuals.
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Genetics Selection Evolution, 2020, vol. 52, article number 18