Recombination rates vary significantly across the genome, and estimates of recombination rates are needed for downstream analyses such as haplotype phasing and genotype imputation. Existing methods for recombination rate estimation are limited by insufficient amounts of informative genetic data or by high computational cost. We present a method and software, called IBDrecomb, for using segments of identity by descent to infer recombination rates. IBDrecomb can be applied to sequenced population cohorts to obtain high-resolution, population-specific recombination maps. In simulated admixed data, IBDrecomb obtains higher accuracy than admixture-based estimation of recombination rates. When applied to 2,500 simulated individuals, IBDrecomb obtains similar accuracy to a linkage-disequilibrium (LD)-based method applied to 96 individuals (the largest number for which computation is tractable). Compared to LD-based maps, our IBD-based maps have the advantage of estimating recombination rates in the recent past rather than the distant past. We used IBDrecomb to generate new recombination maps for European Americans and for African Americans from TOPMed sequence data from the Framingham Heart Study (1,626 unrelated individuals) and the Jackson Heart Study (2,046 unrelated individuals), and we compare them to LD-based, admixture-based, and family-based maps.
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