Imputation of canine genotype array data using 365 whole-genome sequences improves power of genome-wide association studies

Jessica J. Hayward, Michelle E. White, Michael Boyle, Laura M. Shannon, Margret L. Casal, Marta G. Castelhano, Sharon A. Center, Vicki N. Meyers-Wallen, Kenneth W. Simpson, Nathan B. Sutter, Rory J. Todhunter, Adam R. Boyko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Genomic resources for the domestic dog have improved with the widespread adoption of a 173k SNP array platform and updated reference genome. SNP arrays of this density are sufficient for detecting genetic associations within breeds but are underpowered for finding associations across multiple breeds or in mixed-breed dogs, where linkage disequilibrium rapidly decays between markers, even though such studies would hold particular promise for mapping complex diseases and traits. Here we introduce an imputation reference panel, consisting of 365 diverse, whole-genome sequenced dogs and wolves, which increases the number of markers that can be queried in genome-wide association studies approximately 130-fold. Using previously genotyped dogs, we show the utility of this reference panel in identifying novel associations and fine-mapping for canine body size and blood phenotypes, even when causal loci are not in strong linkage disequilibrium with any single array marker. This reference panel resource will improve future genome-wide association studies for canine complex diseases and other phenotypes. Author Summary Complex traits are controlled by more than one gene and as such are difficult to map. For complex trait mapping in the domestic dog, researchers use the current array of 173,000 variants, with only minimal success. Here, we use a method called imputation to increase the number of variants – from 173,000 to 24 million – that can be queried in canine association studies. We use sequence data from the whole genomes of 365 dogs and wolves to accurately predict variants, in a separate cohort of dogs, that are not present on the array. Using dog body size, we show that the increase in variants results in an increase in mapping power, through the identification of new associations and the narrowing of regions of interest. This imputation panel is particularly important because of its usefulness in improving complex trait mapping in the dog, which has significant implications for discovery of variants in humans with similar diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Feb 4 2019

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