LDpred-funct: incorporating functional priors improves polygenic prediction accuracy in UK Biobank and 23andMe data sets
Genetic variants in functional regions of the genome are enriched for complex trait heritability. Here, we introduce a new method for polygenic prediction, LDpred-funct, that leverages trait-specific functional priors to increase prediction accuracy. We fit priors using the recently developed baseline-LD model, which includes coding, conserved, regulatory and LD-related annotations. We analytically estimate posterior mean causal effect sizes and then use cross-validation to regularize these estimates, improving prediction accuracy for sparse architectures. LDpred-funct attained higher prediction accuracy than other polygenic prediction methods in simulations using real genotypes. We applied LDpred-funct to predict 21 highly heritable traits in the UK Biobank. We used association statistics from British-ancestry samples as training data (avg N=373K) and samples of other European ancestries as validation data (avg N=22K), to minimize confounding. LDpred-funct attained a +4.6% relative improvement in average prediction accuracy (avg prediction R2=0.144; highest R2=0.413 for height) compared to SBayesR (the best method that does not incorporate functional information). For height, meta-analyzing training data from UK Biobank and 23andMe cohorts (total N=1107K; higher heritability in UK Biobank cohort) increased prediction R2 to 0.431. Our results show that incorporating functional priors improves polygenic prediction accuracy, consistent with the functional architecture of complex traits. ### Competing Interest Statement N.F and A.A. work for 23andMe.
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