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Large-scale Inference of Population Structure in Presence of Missingness using PCA

By Jonas Meisner, Siyang Liu, Mingxi Huang, Anders Albrechtsen

Posted 29 Apr 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.04.29.067496

Principal component analysis (PCA) is a commonly used tool in genetics to capture and visualize population structure. Due to technological advances in sequencing, such as the widely used non-invasive prenatal test, massive datasets of ultra-low coverage sequencing are being generated. These datasets are characterized by having a large amount of missing genotype information. We present EMU, a method for inferring population structure in the presence of rampant non-random missingness. We show through simulations that several commonly used PCA methods can not handle missing data arisen from various sources, which leads to biased results as individuals are projected into the PC space based on their amount of missingness. In terms of accuracy, EMU outperforms an existing method that also accommodates missingness while being competitively fast. We further tested EMU on around 100K individuals of the Phase 1 dataset of the Chinese Millionome Project, that were shallowly sequenced to around 0.08x. From this data we are able to capture the population structure of the Han Chinese and to reproduce previous analysis in a matter of CPU hours instead of CPU years. EMU's capability to accurately infer population structure in the presence of missingness will be of increasing importance with the rising number of large-scale genetic datasets. EMU is written in Python and is freely available at https://github.com/Rosemeis/emu/. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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