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In a sample of 105 concordant sex MZ and DZ twin pairs, the following characteristics were measured: red cell count, haemoglobin concentration, package cell volume, mean cell volume, mean cell haemoglobin, mean cell haemoglobin concentration, reticulocytes, platelets, white cell count and the six types of leucocytes, lymphocytes, monocytes, band and segmented neutrophils, eosinophils and basophils. The statistical model employed in the univariate twin analysis allows for three sources of variation: genetic (h2), shared environmental (c2) and specific environmental influences (e2). A genetic component was significant for red cell count, haemoglobin and mean cell haemoglobin (0.64, 0.60 and 0.46 respectively), with heritable variation suggested for package cell volume, mean cell volume, mean cell haemoglobin, lymphocytes and monocytes. Shared environmental variation was only present for neutrophils.
Reading and mathematics performance data from a sample of 264 reading-disabled twin pairs and 182 matched control twin pairs were subjected to multivariate behavior genetic analysis. The factor structure of reading and math performance measures was found to be highly similar for both groups. Consistent with previous findings obtained using alternative methods, a significant heritable component to individual differences in reading performance was found both within the reading-disabled (h2 = 0.78) and control (h2 = 0.74) twin samples. In addition, a substantial genetic influence on mathematics performance was found (h2 = 0.51 and 0.60 in the reading-disabled and control samples, respectively), although shared environmental influences common to both members of a twin pair also contribute significantly to the variance in math scores of both groups (c2 = 0.44 and 0.37). Moreover, genetic influences accounted for 98% of the observed correlation between reading and math performance within the sample of reading-disabled twin pairs, and for 55% of the observed correlation in the control sample. Thus, individual differences in both reading and mathematics perfomance are highly heritable and appear to be caused by many of the same genetic influences.
The multiple regression analysis of twin data in which a cotwin's score is predicted from a proband's score and the coefficient of relationship (the basic model) provides a statistically powerful test of genetic etiology. When an augmented model that also contains an interaction term is fitted to the same data set, direct estimates of heritability (h2) and the proportion of variance due to shared environmental influences (c2) are obtained. A simple transformation of selected twin data prior to regression analysis facilitates direct estimates of h2g (an index of the extent to which the difference between the mean of probands and that of the unselected population is heritable) and a test of the hypothesis that the etiology of deviant scores differs from that of variation within the normal range.
Twelve pairs of MZ and 7 of DZ normal adult male twins were given a challenge dose of 0.8 mg ethanol per kg body weight diluted to a 30% v/v solution. Measures of blood alcohol, mood, craving for alcohol, body sway, heart rate and four psychomotor tasks were taken before, during and after intoxication. Genetic factors were found to be involved in the response of heart rate, body sway and two of the psychomotor tasks, but not in changes in blood alcohol, alertness or craving for alcohol. Drinking habits did not exert a strong influence upon acute responses to alcohol, but were significantly related to craving for alcohol whilst intoxicated.
A simple path model applicable to twins and their parents and involving both cultural and genetic transmission in the presence of phenotypic assortative mating was extended to cover the bivariate case. The model allows for cross assortative mating as well as cross cultural transmission. It was applied to two correlated measures derived from a fear survey questionnaire given to 1000 subjects. In allowing for the impact of more than one variable, the model allows for a much more realistic picture of cultural transmission than provided by the univariate model. The logic of the model and an application are outlined. (The authors are indebted to Professor R.J. Rose for providing the illustrative data.)
Three questionnaires measuring altruistic tendencies were completed by 573 adult twin pairs from the University of London Institute of Psychiatry Volunteer Twin Register. The questionnaires consisted of a 20-item Self-Report Altruism Scale, a 33-item Empathy Scale, and a 16-item Nurturance Scale, all of which had previously been shown to have construct validity. For the three scales, the intra-class correlations for the 296 MZ pairs were 0.53, 0.54, and 0.49, and for the 179 same-sex DZ pairs were 0.25,020, and 0.14, giving rough estimates of broad heritability of 56%, 68%, and 72%, respectively. Maximum-likelihood model-fitting revealed about 50% of the variance on each scale to be associated with genetic effects, virtually 0% to be due to the twins' common environment, and the remaining 50% to be due to each twins' specific environment and/or error associated with the test.
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