The impact of genomic and traditional selection on the contribution of mutational variance to long-term selection response and genetic variance

Herman A. Mulder, Sang Hong Lee, Sam Clark, Ben J. Hayes, Julius H.J. Van Der Werf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


De novo mutations (DNM) create new genetic variance and are an important driver for long-term selection response. We hypothesized that genomic selection exploits mutational variance less than traditional selection methods such as mass selection or selection on pedigree-based breeding values, because DNM in selection candidates are not captured when the selection candidates' own phenotype is not used in genomic selection, DNM are not on SNP chips and DNM are not in linkage disequilibrium with the SNP on the chip. We tested this hypothesis with Monte Carlo simulation. From whole-genome sequence data, a subset of -300,000 variants was used that served as putative markers, quantitative trait loci or DNM. We simulated 20 generations with truncation selection based on breeding values from genomic best linear unbiased prediction without (GBLUP_no_OP) or with own phenotype (GBLUP_OP), pedigree-based BLUP without (BLUP_no_OP) or with own phenotype (BLUP_OP), or directly on phenotype. GBLUP_OP was the best strategy in exploiting mutational variance, while GBLUP_no_OP and BLUP_no_OP were the worst in exploiting mutational variance. The crucial element is that GBLUP_no_OP and BLUP_no_OP puts no selection pressure on DNM in selection candidates. Genetic variance decreased faster with GBLUP_no_OP and GBLUP_OP than with BLUP_no_OP, BLUP_OP or mass selection. The distribution of mutational effects, mutational variance, number of DNM per individual and nonadditivity had a large impact on mutational selection response and mutational genetic variance, but not on ranking of selection strategies. We advocate that more sustainable genomic selection strategies are required to optimize long-term selection response and to maintain genetic diversity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-378
Number of pages18
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • De novo mutation
  • Genetic variance
  • Genomic selection
  • Response to selection
  • Selection strategies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

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