Multivariate genetic analysis of twin-family data on fears: Mx models.
ABSTRACT We describe the implementation of multivariate models of familial resemblance with the Mx package. The structural equation models allow for the effects of assortative mating, additive and dominant genes, common and specific environment, and both genetic and cultural transmission between generations. Two approaches are compared: a correlational one based on Fulker and a factor model described by Phillips and Fulker. Both are illustrated by application to published data on social fears and fear of leadership measured in monozygotic and dizygotic twins and their parents. In the example data, genetic dominance yields a more parsimonious explanation of the data than does cultural transmission, although neither is needed to obtain a good fit to the data. A model of reduced genetic correlation between generations also fits the data but has inherent limitations in this sample. Extensions to sex-limitation and more complex models are discussed.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Michael C Neale, Jul 04, 2015
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ABSTRACT: Blood levels of gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) are used as a marker for (heavy) alcohol use. The role of GGT in the anti-oxidant defense mechanism that is part of normal metabolism supposes a causal effect of alcohol intake on GGT. However, there is variability in the response of GGT to alcohol use, which may result from genetic differences between individuals. This study aimed to determine whether the epidemiological association between alcohol intake and GGT at the population level is necessarily a causal one or may also reflect effects of genetic pleiotropy (genes influencing multiple traits). Data on alcohol intake (grams alcohol/day) and GGT, originating from twins, their siblings and parents (N=6465) were analyzed with structural equation models. Bivariate genetic models tested whether genetic and environmental factors influencing alcohol intake and GGT correlated significantly. Significant genetic and environmental correlations are consistent with a causal model. If only the genetic correlation is significant, this is evidence for genetic pleiotropy. Phenotypic correlations between alcohol intake and GGT were significant in men (r=.17) and women (r=.09). The genetic factors underlying alcohol intake correlated significantly with those for GGT, whereas the environmental factors were weakly correlated (explaining 4-7% vs. 1-2% of the variance in GGT respectively). In this healthy population sample, the epidemiological association of alcohol intake with GGT is at least partly explained by genetic pleiotropy. Future longitudinal twin studies should determine whether a causal mechanism underlying this association might be confined to heavy drinking populations.Drug and alcohol dependence 09/2013; 134. DOI:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2013.09.016 · 3.28 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Religiousness is widely considered to be a culturally transmitted trait. However, twin studies suggest that religiousness is genetically influenced in adulthood, although largely environmentally influenced in childhood/adolescence. We examined genetic and environmental influences on a self-report measure of religiousness in a sample consisting of 284 adoptive families (two adopted adolescent siblings and their rearing parents); 208 biological families (two full biological adolescent siblings and their parents); and 124 mixed families (one adopted and one biological adolescent sibling and their parents). A sibling-family model was fit to the data to estimate genetic, shared environmental, and nonshared environmental effects on religiousness, as well as cultural transmission and assortative mating effects. Religiousness showed little evidence of heritability and large environmental effects, which did not vary significantly by gender. This finding is consistent with the results of twin studies of religiousness in adolescent and preadolescent samples.Personality and Individual Differences 10/2009; 47(6):652-656. DOI:10.1016/j.paid.2009.06.003 · 1.86 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Twin studies on fear and phobia suggest moderate genetic effects. However, results are inconclusive regarding the presence of dominant genetic effects and sex differences. Using an extended twin design, including male and female twins (n = 5,465) and their siblings (n = 1,624), we examined the genetic and environmental influences on blood-injury, social, and agoraphobic fear and investigated their interaction with sex and age. Data of spouses (n = 708) of twins were used to evaluate assortative mating for the three fear dimensions. Results showed that there was no assortative mating for blood-injury, social and agoraphobic fear. Resemblance between biological relatives could be explained by additive and non-additive genetic effects for blood-injury and agoraphobic fear in all participants, and social fear in participants aged 14-25 years. For social fear in participants aged 26-65 only additive genetic effects were detected. Broad-sense heritability estimates ranged from 36 to 51% and were similar for men and women.Behavior Genetics 02/2008; 38(1):24-33. DOI:10.1007/s10519-007-9182-z · 2.84 Impact Factor