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LDpred-funct: incorporating functional priors improves polygenic prediction accuracy in UK Biobank and 23andMe data sets

By Carla Márquez-Luna, Steven Gazal, Po-Ru Loh, Samuel S Kim, Nicholas Furlotte, Adam Auton, 23andMe Research Team, Alkes Price

Posted 24 Jul 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/375337

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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