This study explores the use of an individual's genetic (IGFS) and environmental factor score (IEFS), constructed using genetic model fitting of a multivariate strength phenotype. Maximal isometric and dynamic strength measures, one maximal repetition load (1RM) and muscle cross-sectional area (MCSA) were measured in 25 monozygotic and 16 dizygotic twin pairs. The use of IGFS and IEFS in predicting the sensitivity to environmental stress was evaluated by the association of the scores with strength training gains after a 10-week high resistance strength training programme. Results show a high contribution of genetic factors to the covariation between maximal strength and muscle cross-sectional area (84–97%) at pre-training evaluation. Individual factor scores explained the largest part of the variation in 1RM and other strength measures at pre-training and post-training evaluation respectively. Genes that are switched on due to training stress (gene–environment interaction) could explain the decrease in explained variation over time. A negative correlation was found between IGFS and strength training gains (−0.24 to −0.51, P < 0.05); individuals with a high IGFS tend to gain less strength than individuals with low IGFS. Individual environmental factor scores have lower differential power. The predictive value of the IGFS has potential utility in identifying an individual's susceptibility to environmental stress in a variety of multifactorial characteristics, eg diseases and impairments, and for selection of sib pairs for QTL analyses. Twin Research (2000) 3, 99–108.
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