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The Plant Genome Abstract - Original Research

Ridge Regression and Other Kernels for Genomic Selection with R Package rrBLUP


This article in TPG

  1. Vol. 4 No. 3, p. 250-255
    unlockOPEN ACCESS
    Received: May 26, 2011

    * Corresponding author(s): j.endelman@gmail.com
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  1. Jeffrey B. Endelman 
  1. Dep. of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State Univ., 16650 State Route 536, Mount Vernon, WA 98273


Many important traits in plant breeding are polygenic and therefore recalcitrant to traditional marker-assisted selection. Genomic selection addresses this complexity by including all markers in the prediction model. A key method for the genomic prediction of breeding values is ridge regression (RR), which is equivalent to best linear unbiased prediction (BLUP) when the genetic covariance between lines is proportional to their similarity in genotype space. This additive model can be broadened to include epistatic effects by using other kernels, such as the Gaussian, which represent inner products in a complex feature space. To facilitate the use of RR and nonadditive kernels in plant breeding, a new software package for R called rrBLUP has been developed. At its core is a fast maximum-likelihood algorithm for mixed models with a single variance component besides the residual error, which allows for efficient prediction with unreplicated training data. Use of the rrBLUP software is demonstrated through several examples, including the identification of optimal crosses based on superior progeny value. In cross-validation tests, the prediction accuracy with nonadditive kernels was significantly higher than RR for wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) grain yield but equivalent for several maize (Zea mays L.) traits.

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