Increasing marker density was proposed to have potential to improve the accuracy of genomic prediction for quantitative traits; whole-sequence data is expected to give the best accuracy of prediction, since all causal mutations that underlie a trait are expected to be included. However, in cattle and chicken, this assumption is not supported by empirical studies. Our objective was to compare the accuracy of genomic prediction of feed efficiency component traits in Duroc pigs using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) panels of 80K, imputed 650K, and whole-genome sequence variants using GBLUP, BayesB and BayesRC methods, with the ultimate purpose to determine the optimal method to increase genetic gain for feed efficiency in pigs.
Phenotypes of average daily feed intake (ADFI), average daily gain (ADG), ultrasound backfat depth (FAT), and loin muscle depth (LMD) were available for 1363 Duroc boars from a commercial breeding program. Genotype imputation accuracies reached 92.1% from 80K to 650K and 85.6% from 650K to whole-genome sequence variants. Average accuracies across methods and marker densities of genomic prediction of ADFI, FAT, LMD and ADG were 0.40, 0.65, 0.30 and 0.15, respectively. For ADFI and FAT, BayesB outperformed GBLUP, but increasing marker density had little advantage for genomic prediction. For ADG and LMD, GBLUP outperformed BayesB, while BayesRC based on whole-genome sequence data gave the best accuracies and reached up to 0.35 for LMD and 0.25 for ADG.
Use of genomic information was beneficial for prediction of ADFI and FAT but not for that of ADG and LMD compared to pedigree-based estimates. BayesB based on 80K SNPs gave the best genomic prediction accuracy for ADFI and FAT, while BayesRC based on whole-genome sequence data performed best for ADG and LMD. We suggest that these differences between traits in the effect of marker density and method on accuracy of genomic prediction are mainly due to the underlying genetic architecture of the traits.