An Assessment of the Factors Influencing the Prediction Accuracy of Genomic Prediction Models Across Multiple Environments

Sarah Widener, George Graef, Alexander E. Lipka, Diego Jarquin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effects of climate change create formidable challenges for breeders striving to produce sufficient food quantities in rapidly changing environments. It is therefore critical to investigate the ability of multi-environment genomic prediction (GP) models to predict genomic estimated breeding values (GEBVs) in extreme environments. Exploration of the impact of training set composition on the accuracy of such GEBVs is also essential. Accordingly, we examined the influence of the number of training environments and the use of environmental covariates (ECs) in GS models on four subsets of n = 500 lines of the soybean nested association mapping (SoyNAM) panel grown in nine environments in the US-North Central Region. The ensuing analyses provided insights into the influence of both of these factors for predicting grain yield in the most and the least extreme of these environments. We found that only a subset of the available environments was needed to obtain the highest observed prediction accuracies. The inclusion of ECs in the GP model did not substantially increase prediction accuracies relative to competing models, and instead more often resulted in negative prediction accuracies. Combined with the overall low prediction accuracies for grain yield in the most extreme environment, our findings highlight weaknesses in current GP approaches for prediction in extreme environments, and point to specific areas on which to focus future research efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number689319
JournalFrontiers in Genetics
StatePublished - Jul 23 2021


  • environmental covariates (ECs)
  • extreme environmental conditions
  • genomic selection (GS)
  • genotype-by-environment (GE) interaction
  • soybean nested association mapping (SoyNAM) populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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