Polygenic prediction has shown promise in identifying individuals at high risk for complex diseases, and may become clinically useful as the predictive performance of polygenic risk scores (PRS) improves. Here, we present PRS-CS, a novel polygenic prediction method that infers posterior SNP effect sizes using GWAS summary statistics and an external linkage disequilibrium (LD) reference panel. PRS-CS utilizes a high-dimensional Bayesian regression framework, and is distinct from previous work by placing a continuous shrinkage (CS) prior on SNP effect sizes, which is robust to varying genetic architectures, provides substantial computational advantages, and enables multivariate modeling of local LD patterns. Simulation studies using data from the UK Biobank show that PRS-CS outperforms existing methods across a wide range of effect size distributions, especially when the training sample size is large. We apply PRS-CS to predict six complex diseases and six quantitative traits in the Partners HealthCare Biobank, and further demonstrate the improvement of PRS-CS in prediction accuracy over alternative methods.
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