Pedigree Simulation and Visualization with BGmisc


This vignette provides a detailed guide to the pedigree-related functions within the BGmisc package.

Loading Required Libraries


Simulating Pedigrees

Unlike Tolstoy, where only happy families are alike, all pedigrees are alike – or at least, all simulated pedigrees are alike. The simulatePedigree function generates a pedigree with a user-specified number of generations and individuals per generation. This function provides users the opportunity to test family models in pedigrees with a customized pedigree length and width.

These pedigrees can be simulated as a function of several parameters, including the number of children per mate, generations, sex ratio of newborns, and mating rate. Given that large family pedigrees are difficult to collect or access, simulated pedigrees serve as an efficient tool for researchers. These simulated pedigrees are useful for building family-based statistical models, and evaluating their statistical properties, such as power, bias, and computational efficiency.

To illustrate this, let us generate a pedigree. This pedigree has a total of four generations, in which each person who “mates”, grows a family with four offspring. In our scenario, the number of male and female newborns is equal. In this illustration 70% of individuals will mate and bear offspring. Such a pedigree structure can be simulated by running:

df_ped <- simulatePedigree(kpc = 4,
                        Ngen = 4,
                        sexR = .5,
                        marR = .7)
#>      fam                  ID              gen            dadID       
#>  Length:57          Min.   : 10011   Min.   :1.000   Min.   : 10012  
#>  Class :character   1st Qu.: 10036   1st Qu.:3.000   1st Qu.: 10024  
#>  Mode  :character   Median :100312   Median :3.000   Median : 10037  
#>                     Mean   : 59171   Mean   :3.298   Mean   : 42859  
#>                     3rd Qu.:100416   3rd Qu.:4.000   3rd Qu.:100311  
#>                     Max.   :100432   Max.   :4.000   Max.   :100320  
#>                                                      NA's   :13      
#>      momID             spt             sex           
#>  Min.   : 10011   Min.   : 10011   Length:57         
#>  1st Qu.: 10022   1st Qu.: 10025   Class :character  
#>  Median : 10036   Median : 10036   Mode  :character  
#>  Mean   : 42859   Mean   : 40124                     
#>  3rd Qu.:100316   3rd Qu.:100311                     
#>  Max.   :100318   Max.   :100320                     
#>  NA's   :13       NA's   :33

The simulation output is a data.frame with 57 rows and 7 columns. Each row corresponds to a simulated individual.

df_ped[21, ]
#>      fam     ID gen dadID momID    spt sex
#> 21 fam 1 100312   3 10024 10022 100317   M

The columns represents the individual’s family ID, the individual’s personal ID, the generation the individual is in, the IDs of their father and mother, the ID of their spouse, and the biological sex of the individual, respectively.

Plotting Pedigree

Pedigrees are visual diagrams that represent family relationships across generations. They are commonly used in genetics to trace the inheritance of specific traits or conditions. This vignette will guide you through visualizing simulated pedigrees using the plotPedigree function. This function is a wrapper function for Kinship2’s base R plotting.

Single Pedigree Visualization

To visualize a single simulated pedigree, use the plotPedigree() function.

# Plot the simulated pedigree

#> Did not plot the following people: 10032

In the resulting plot, biological males are represented by squares, while biological females are represented by circles, following the standard pedigree conventions.

Visualizing Multiple Pedigrees Side-by-Side

If you wish to compare different pedigrees side by side, you can plot them together. For instance, let’s visualize pedigrees for families spanning three and four generations, respectively.

# Simulate a family with 3 generations
df_ped_3 <- simulatePedigree(Ngen = 3)

# Simulate a family with 4 generations
df_ped_4 <- simulatePedigree(Ngen = 4)

# Set up plotting parameters for side-by-side display
par(mfrow = c(1, 2))

# Plot the 3-generation pedigree
plotPedigree(df_ped_3, width = 3)

# Plot the 4-generation pedigree
plotPedigree(df_ped_4, width = 1)

By examining the side-by-side plots, you can contrast and analyze the structures of different families, tracing the inheritance of specific traits or conditions if needed.