Bayesian linear mixed models with polygenic effects

19 Mar 2019

We considered Bayesian estimation of polygenic effects, in particular heritability in relation to a class of linear mixed models implemented in R. Our approach is applicable to both family-based and population-based studies in human genetics with which a genetic relationship matrix can be derived either from family structure or genome-wide data. Using a simulated and a real data, we demonstrate our implementation of the models in the generic statistical software systems JAGS and Stan as well as several R packages. In doing so, we have not only provided facilities in R linking standalone programs such as GCTA and other packages in R but also addressed some technical issues in the analysis. Our experience with a host of general and special software systems will facilitate investigation into more complex models for both human and nonhuman genetics.