In quantitative genetics, Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods are indispensable for statistical inference in non-standard models like generalized linear models with genetic random effects or models with genetically structured variance heterogeneity. A particular challenge for MCMC applications in quantitative genetics is to obtain efficient updates of the high-dimensional vectors of genetic random effects and the associated covariance parameters. We discuss various strategies to approach this problem including reparameterization, Langevin-Hastings updates, and updates based on normal approximations. The methods are compared in applications to Bayesian inference for three data sets using a model with genetically structured variance heterogeneity.
Keywords:Langevin-Hastings; Markov chain Monte Carlo; normal approximation; proposal distributions; reparameterization
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