Algorithms for Selecting Informative Marker Panels for Population Assignment


Given a set of potential source populations, genotypes of an individual of unknown origin at a collection of markers can be used to predict the correct source population of the individual. For improved efficiency, informative markers can be chosen from a larger set of markers to maximize the accuracy of this prediction. However, selecting the loci that are individually most informative does not necessarily produce the optimal panel. Here, using genotypes from eight species—carp, cat, chicken, dog, fly, grayling, human, and maize—this univariate accumulation procedure is compared to new multivariate "greedy" and "maximin" algorithms for choosing marker panels. The procedures generally suggest similar panels, although the greedy method often recommends inclusion of loci that are not chosen by the other algorithms. In seven of the eight species, when applied to five or more markers, all methods achieve at least 94% assignment accuracy on simulated individuals, with one species—dog— producing this level of accuracy with only three markers, and the eighth species—human— requiring ∼13–16 markers. The new algorithms produce substantial improvements over use of randomly selected markers; where differences among the methods are noticeable, the greedy algorithm leads to slightly higher probabilities of correct assignment. Although none of the approaches necessarily chooses the panel with optimal performance, the algorithms all likely select panels with performance near enough to the maximum that they all are suitable for practical use.Peer Reviewed

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