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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 143712, 18 pages
Review Article

The Current and Future Use of Ridge Regression for Prediction in Quantitative Genetics

1Erasmus University Rotterdam Institute for Behavior and Biology, Department of Applied Economics, Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Postbus 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, Netherlands
2Econometric Institute, Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Postbus 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, Netherlands

Received 28 November 2014; Accepted 24 December 2014

Academic Editor: Junwen Wang

Copyright © 2015 Ronald de Vlaming and Patrick J. F. Groenen. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In recent years, there has been a considerable amount of research on the use of regularization methods for inference and prediction in quantitative genetics. Such research mostly focuses on selection of markers and shrinkage of their effects. In this review paper, the use of ridge regression for prediction in quantitative genetics using single-nucleotide polymorphism data is discussed. In particular, we consider (i) the theoretical foundations of ridge regression, (ii) its link to commonly used methods in animal breeding, (iii) the computational feasibility, and (iv) the scope for constructing prediction models with nonlinear effects (e.g., dominance and epistasis). Based on a simulation study we gauge the current and future potential of ridge regression for prediction of human traits using genome-wide SNP data. We conclude that, for outcomes with a relatively simple genetic architecture, given current sample sizes in most cohorts (i.e., ,000) the predictive accuracy of ridge regression is slightly higher than the classical genome-wide association study approach of repeated simple regression (i.e., one regression per SNP). However, both capture only a small proportion of the heritability. Nevertheless, we find evidence that for large-scale initiatives, such as biobanks, sample sizes can be achieved where ridge regression compared to the classical approach improves predictive accuracy substantially.