Resolution of genetic and cultural inheritance in twin families by path analysis: Application to HDL-cholesterol

M. McGue, D. C. Rao, L. Iselius, J. M. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

A path model and associated statistical method for the analysis of data on twin families are introduced and applied to high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) observations in the Swedish Twin Family Study. The proposed path model incorporates both genetic and environmental sources of familial resemblance, maternal environmental effects, intergenerational differences in heritabilities, marital resemblance due to either primary or secondary phenotypic homogamy, and twin residual environmental correlations. Application of the model to HDL-c levels resulted in parameter estimates consistent with those reported in earlier reviews and in the analysis of nuclear family and twin data. Genetic heritability was estimated as h2 = .363 ± .243, cultural heritability as c2 = .187 ± .082, and the proportion of phenotypic variance due to residual environmental effects as r2 = .450 ± .207. Although the parameter estimates were comparable, the statistical tests of hypotheses were, relative to other designs, of low statistical power. It appears that environmental indices are necessary for powerful tests of hypotheses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)998-1014
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Genetics
Volume37
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1985

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