Accurate Genomic Predictions for Chronic Wasting Disease in U.S. White-Tailed Deer.
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The geographic expansion of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in U.S. white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) has been largely unabated by best management practices, diagnostic surveillance, and depopulation of positive herds. Using a custom Affymetrix Axiom single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array, we demonstrate that both differential susceptibility to CWD, and natural variation in disease progression, are moderately to highly heritable ([Formula: see text] among farmed U.S. white-tailed deer, and that loci other than PRNP are involved. Genome-wide association analyses using 123,987 quality filtered SNPs for a geographically diverse cohort of 807 farmed U.S. white-tailed deer (n = 284 CWD positive; n = 523 CWD non-detect) confirmed the prion gene (PRNP; G96S) as a large-effect risk locus (P-value < 6.3E-11), as evidenced by the estimated proportion of phenotypic variance explained (PVE 0.05), but also demonstrated that more phenotypic variance was collectively explained by loci other than PRNP Genomic best linear unbiased prediction (GBLUP; n = 123,987 SNPs) with k-fold cross validation (k = 3; k = 5) and random sampling (n = 50 iterations) for the same cohort of 807 farmed U.S. white-tailed deer produced mean genomic prediction accuracies 0.81; thereby providing the necessary foundation for exploring a genomically-estimated CWD eradication program.