Background Genomic selection makes it possible to reduce pedigree-based inbreeding over best linear unbiased prediction (BLUP) by increasing emphasis on own rather than family information. However, pedigree inbreeding might not accurately reflect the loss of genetic variation and the true level of inbreeding due to changes in allele frequencies and hitch-hiking. This study aimed at understanding the impact of using long-term genomic selection on changes in allele frequencies, genetic variation and the level of inbreeding. Methods Selection was performed in simulated scenarios with a population of 400 animals for 25 consecutive generations. Six genetic models were considered with different heritabilities and numbers of QTL (quantitative trait loci) affecting the trait. Four selection criteria were used, including selection on own phenotype and on estimated breeding values (EBV) derived using phenotype-BLUP, Genomic BLUP and Bayesian Lasso. Changes in allele frequencies at QTL, markers and linked neutral loci were investigated for the different selection criteria and different scenarios, along with the loss of favourable alleles and the rate of inbreeding measured by pedigree and runs of homozygosity. Results For each selection criterion, hitch-hiking in the vicinity of the QTL appeared more extensive when accuracy of selection was higher and the number of QTL was lower. When inbreeding was measured by pedigree information, selection on genomic BLUP EBV resulted in lower levels of inbreeding than selection on phenotype BLUP EBV, but this did not always apply when inbreeding was measured by runs of homozygosity. Compared to genomic BLUP, selection on EBV from Bayesian Lasso led to less genetic drift, reduced the loss of favourable alleles and more effectively controlled the rate of both pedigree and genomic inbreeding in all simulated scenarios. In addition, selection on EBV from Bayesian Lasso showed a higher selection differential for mendelian sampling terms than selection on genomic BLUP EBV. Conclusions Neutral variation can be shaped to a great extent by the hitch-hiking effects associated with selection, rather than just by genetic drift. The hitch-hiking effect is a key factor in the difference between pedigree inbreeding and genomic inbreeding, especially under genomic selection. When implementing long-term genomic selection, strategies for genomic control of inbreeding are essential, due to a considerable hitch-hiking effect, regardless of the method that is used for prediction of EBV.
Genetics Selection Evolution, 2014, Vol 46, Issue 8, p. 1-14