Identification of key contributors in complex population structures

Neuditschko, Markus, Raadsma, Herman W., Khatkar, Mehar S., Jonas, Elisabeth, Steinig, Eike J., Flury, Christine, Signer-Hasler, Heidi, Frischknecht, Mirjam, von Niederhausem, Ruedi, Leeb, Tosso, and Rieder, Stefan (2017) Identification of key contributors in complex population structures. PLoS One, 12 (5). e0177638. pp. 1-19.

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Evaluating the genetic contribution of individuals to population structure is essential to select informative individuals for genome sequencing, genotype imputation and to ascertain complex population structures. Existing methods for the selection of informative individuals for genomic imputation solely focus on the identification of key ancestors, which can lead to a loss of phasing accuracy of the reference population. Currently many methods are independently applied to investigate complex population structures. Based on the Eigenvalue Decomposition (EVD) of a genomic relationship matrix we describe a novel approach to evaluate the genetic contribution of individuals to population structure. We combined the identification of key contributors with model-based clustering and population network visualization into an integrated three-step approach, which allows identification of high-resolution population structures and substructures around such key contributors. The approach was applied and validated in four disparate datasets including a simulated population (5,100 individuals and 10,000 SNPs), a highly structured experimental sheep population (1,421 individuals and 44,693 SNPs) and two large complex pedigree populations namely horse (1,077 individuals and 38,124 SNPs) and cattle (2,457 individuals and 45,765 SNPs). In the simulated and experimental sheep dataset, our method, which is unsupervised, successfully identified all known key contributors. Applying our three-step approach to the horse and cattle populations, we observed high-resolution population substructures including the absence of obvious important key contributors. Furthermore, we show that compared to commonly applied strategies to select informative individuals for genotype imputation including the computation of marginal gene contributions (PEDIG) and the optimization of genetic relatedness (wREL), the selection of key contributors provided the highest phasing accuracies within the selected reference populations. The presented approach opens new perspectives in the characterization and informed management of populations in general, and in areas such as conservation genetics and selective animal breeding in particular, where assessing the genetic contribution of influential and admixed individuals is crucial for research and management applications. As such, this method provides a valuable complement to common applied tools to visualize complex population structures and to select individuals for resequencing.

Item ID: 50458
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
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© 2017 Neuditschko et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 09:17
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3105 Genetics > 310599 Genetics not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970107 Expanding Knowledge in the Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences @ 100%
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