Hermine H Maes

Maastricht University, Maestricht, Limburg, Netherlands

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Publications (122)447.06 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Background Alcohol consumption is typically correlated with the alcohol use behaviors of one's peers. Previous research has suggested that this positive relationship could be due to social selection, social influence, or a combination of both processes. However, few studies have considered the role of shared genetic and environmental influences in conjunction with causal processes.Methods This study uses data from a sample of male twins (N = 1,790) who provided retrospective reports of their own alcohol consumption and their peers' alcohol-related behaviors, from adolescence into young adulthood (ages 12 to 25). Structural equation modeling was employed to compare 3 plausible models of genetic and environmental influences on the relationship between phenotypes over time.ResultsModel fitting indicated that one's own alcohol consumption and the alcohol use of one's peers are related through both genetic and shared environmental factors and through unique environmental causal influences. The relative magnitude of these factors, and their contribution to covariation, changed over time, with genetic factors becoming more meaningful later in development.Conclusions Peers' alcohol use behaviors and one's own alcohol consumption are related through a complex combination of genetic and environmental factors that act via correlated factors and the complementary causal mechanisms of social selection and influence. Understanding these processes can inform risk assessment as well as improve our ability to model the development of alcohol use.
    Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 01/2015; · 3.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: As the architecture of complex traits incorporates a widening spectrum of genetic variation, analyses integrating common and rare variation are needed. Body mass index (BMI) represents a model trait, since common variation shows robust association but accounts for a fraction of the heritability. A combined analysis of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) and copy number variation (CNV) was performed using 1850 European and 498 African-Americans from the Study of Addiction: Genetics and Environment. Genetic risk sum scores (GRSS) were constructed using 32 BMI-validated SNPs and aggregate-risk methods were compared: count versus weighted and proxy versus imputation. Results: The weighted SNP-GRSS constructed from imputed probabilities of risk alleles performed best and was highly associated with BMI (p = 4.3×10 −16) accounting for 3% of the phenotypic variance. In addition to BMI-validated SNPs, common and rare BMI/obesity-associated CNVs were identified from the literature. Of the 84 CNVs previously reported, only 21-kilobase deletions on 16p12.3 showed evidence for association with BMI (p = 0.003, frequency = 16.9%), with two CNVs nominally associated with class II obesity, 1p36.1 duplications (OR = 3.1, p = 0.009, frequency 1.2%) and 5q13.2 deletions (OR = 1.5, p = 0.048, frequency 7.7%). All other CNVs, individually and in aggregate, were not associated with BMI or obesity. The combined model, including covariates, SNP-GRSS, and 16p12.3 deletion accounted for 11.5% of phenotypic variance in BMI (3.2% from genetic effects). Models significantly predicted obesity classification with maximum discriminative ability for morbid-obesity (p = 3.15×10 −18). Conclusion: Results show that incorporating validated effect sizes and allelic probabilities improve prediction algorithms. Although rare-CNVs did not account for significant phenotypic variation, results provide a framework for integrated analyses.
    BMC Genomics 05/2014; 15(1). · 4.04 Impact Factor
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    Hermine H M Maes, Peter K Hatemi, Michael C Neale
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    ABSTRACT: We begin this special issue by providing a glimpse into the career of Dr. Lindon J. Eaves, from the perspectives of a student, postdoc, instructor, assistant to associate and full professor over the last 20 odd years. We focus primarily on Lindon's contributions to methodological issues and research designs to address them, in particular those related to models for extended twin-family designs, for the development of adolescent behavior, for genotype-environment covariation and interaction, and their application to the Virginia 30,000 and the Virginia Twin Study of Adolescent Behavioral Development. We then introduce the collection of papers in this special festschrift issue of Behavior Genetics, celebrating Dr. Eaves achievements over the last 40 years.
    Behavior Genetics 05/2014; · 2.84 Impact Factor
  • Todd Vance, Hermine H Maes, Kenneth S Kendler
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    ABSTRACT: The authors sought to decompose the covariance between seven dimensions of religiosity and two internalizing psychiatric disorders (major depression and phobia) and two externalizing substance use disorders (alcohol dependence and nicotine dependence). Significant negative correlations, accounted for by shared additive genetic effects, were found between alcohol dependence and six of the seven religiosity factors. Additive genetic effects accounted for significant negative correlations between nicotine dependence and one religiosity factor, social religiosity, and between phobia and unvengefulness. Common environmental effects accounted for a significant positive correlation between phobia and the factor God as judge. No statistically significant covariance due to genetic or environmental effects was found for major depression and any of the seven religiosity factors. Overall, although several statistically significant bivariate relationships were found, the estimates of covariance due to additive genetic effects were modest.
    The Journal of nervous and mental disease 04/2014; · 1.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE Using Swedish nationwide registry data, the authors investigated genetic and environmental risk factors in the etiology of drug abuse by twin sibling modeling. The authors followed up with epidemiological analyses to identify shared environmental influences on drug abuse. METHOD Drug abuse was defined using public medical, legal, or pharmacy records. Twin and sibling pairs were obtained from the national twin and genealogical registers. Information about sibling pair residence within the same household, small residential area, or municipality was obtained from Statistics Sweden. The authors predicted concordance for drug abuse by years of co-residence until the older sibling turned 21 and risk for future drug abuse in adolescents living with parental figures as a function of family-level socioeconomic status and neighborhood social deprivation. RESULTS The best twin sibling fit model predicted substantial heritability for drug abuse in males (55%) and females (73%), with environmental factors shared by siblings operating only in males and accounting for 23% of the variance in liability. For each year of living in the same household, the probability of sibling concordance for drug abuse increased 2%-5%. When not residing in the same household, concordance was predicted from residence in the same small residential area or municipality. Risk for drug abuse was predicted both by family socioeconomic status and neighborhood social deprivation. Controlling for family socioeconomic status, each year of living in a high social deprivation neighborhood increased the risk for drug abuse by 2%. CONCLUSIONS Using objective registry data, the authors found that drug abuse is highly heritable. A substantial proportion of the shared environmental effect on drug abuse comes from community-wide rather than household-level influences. Genetic effects demonstrated in twin studies have led to molecular analyses to elucidate biological pathways. In a parallel manner, environmental effects can be followed up by epidemiological studies to clarify social mechanisms.
    American Journal of Psychiatry 09/2013; · 14.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The importance of including developmental and environmental measures in genetic studies of human pathology is widely acknowledged, but few empirical studies have been published. Barriers include the need for longitudinal studies that cover relevant developmental stages and for samples large enough to deal with the challenge of testing gene-environment-development interaction. A solution to some of these problems is to bring together existing data sets that have the necessary characteristics. As part of the National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded Gene-Environment-Development Initiative, our goal is to identify exactly which genes, which environments, and which developmental transitions together predict the development of drug use and misuse. Four data sets were used of which common characteristics include (1) general population samples, including males and females; (2) repeated measures across adolescence and young adulthood; (3) assessment of nicotine, alcohol, and cannabis use and addiction; (4) measures of family and environmental risk; and (5) consent for genotyping DNA from blood or saliva. After quality controls, 2,962 individuals provided over 15,000 total observations. In the first gene-environment analyses, of alcohol misuse and stressful life events, some significant gene-environment and gene-development effects were identified. We conclude that in some circumstances, already collected data sets can be combined for gene-environment and gene-development analyses. This greatly reduces the cost and time needed for this type of research. However, care must be taken to ensure careful matching across studies and variables.
    Twin Research and Human Genetics 03/2013; · 1.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The use of cross-informant ratings in previous longitudinal studies on externalizing behavior may have obscured the presence of continuity of genetic risk. The current study included latent factors representing the latent estimates of externalizing behavior based on both parent and self-report which eliminated rater-specific effects from these latent estimates. Symptoms of externalizing behavior of 1,480 Swedish twin pairs were obtained at ages 8-9, 13-14, 16-17 and 19-20 both by parent and self-report. Mx modeling was used to estimate additive genetic, shared and specific environmental influences. Genetic continuity was found over the entire developmental period as well as additional sources of genetic influence emerging around early and late adolescence. New unique environmental effects (E) on externalizing behavior arose early in adolescence. The results support both the presence of genetic continuity and change in externalizing behavior during adolescence due to newly emerging genetic and environmental risk factors.
    Behavior Genetics 02/2013; · 2.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Adult cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength are related to all-cause and cardiovascular mortality. Both are possibly related to birth weight, but it is unclear what the importance is of genetic, maternal and placental factors in these associations. Peak oxygen uptake and measures of strength, flexibility and balance were obtained yearly during adolescence (10-18 years) in 114 twin pairs in the Leuven Longitudinal Twin Study. Their birth weights had been collected prospectively within the East Flanders Prospective Twin Survey. We identified linear associations between birth weight and adolescent vertical jump (b = 1.96 cm per kg birth weight, P = 0.02), arm pull (b = 1.85 kg per kg birth weight P = 0.03) and flamingo balance (b = -1.82 attempts to stand one minute per kg birth weight, P = 0.03). Maximum oxygen uptake appeared to have a U-shaped association with birth weight (the smallest and largest children had the lowest uptake, P = 0.01), but this association was no longer significant after adjustment for parental BMI. Using the individual twin's deviation from his own twin pair's average birth weight, we found positive associations between birth weight and adolescent vertical jump (b = 3.49, P = 0.0007) and arm pull (b = 3.44, P = 0.02). Δ scores were calculated within the twin pairs as first born twin minus second born twin. Δ birth weight was associated with Δ vertical jump within MZ twin pairs only (b = 2.63, P = 0.009), which indicates importance of placental factors. We found evidence for an association between adolescent physical performance (strength, balance and possibly peak oxygen uptake) and birth weight. The associations with vertical jump and arm pull were likely based on individual, more specifically placental (in the case of vertical jump) factors. Our results should be viewed as hypothesis-generating and need confirmation, but potentially support preventive strategies to optimize birth weight, for example via placental function, to target later fitness and health.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(10):e76423. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study sought to determine the relationship between body mass index (BMI) fluctuation and cardiovascular disease phenotypes, diabetes, and depression and the role of genetic and environmental factors in individual differences in BMI fluctuation using the extended twin-family model (ETFM). This study included 14,763 twins and their relatives. Health and Lifestyle Questionnaires were obtained from 28,492 individuals from the Virginia 30,000 dataset including twins, parents, siblings, spouses, and children of twins. Self-report cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and depression data were available. From self-reported height and weight, BMI fluctuation was calculated as the difference between highest and lowest BMI after age 18, for individuals 18-80 years. Logistic regression analyses were used to determine the relationship between BMI fluctuation and disease status. The ETFM was used to estimate the significance and contribution of genetic and environmental factors, cultural transmission, and assortative mating components to BMI fluctuation, while controlling for age. We tested sex differences in additive and dominant genetic effects, parental, non-parental, twin, and unique environmental effects. BMI fluctuation was highly associated with disease status, independent of BMI. Genetic effects accounted for ~34 % of variance in BMI fluctuation in males and ~43 % of variance in females. The majority of the variance was accounted for by environmental factors, about a third of which were shared among twins. Assortative mating, and cultural transmission accounted for only a small proportion of variance in this phenotype. Since there are substantial health risks associated with BMI fluctuation and environmental components of BMI fluctuation account for over 60 % of variance in males and over 50 % of variance in females, environmental risk factors may be appropriate targets to reduce BMI fluctuation.
    Behavior Genetics 09/2012; 42(6):867-74. · 2.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The co-occurrence of suicidal ideation, depression, and conduct disturbance is likely explained in part by correlated genetic and environmental risk factors. Little is known about the specific nature of these associations. Structured interviews on 2,814 twins from the Virginia Twin Study of Adolescent Behavioral Development (VTSABD) and Young Adult Follow-Up (YAFU) yielded data on symptoms of depression, conduct disorder, and adolescent and young adult suicidal ideation. Univariate analyses revealed that the familial aggregation for each trait was explained by a combination of additive genetic and shared environmental effects. Suicidal ideation in adolescence was explained in part by genetic influences, but predominantly accounted for by environmental factors. A mixture of genetic and shared environmental influences explained ideation occurring in young adulthood. Multivariate analyses revealed that there are genetic and shared environmental effects common to suicidal ideation, depression, and conduct disorder. The association between adolescent suicidal ideation and CD was attributable to the same genetic and environmental risk factors for depression. These findings underscore that prevention and intervention strategies should reflect the different underlying mechanisms involving depression and conduct disorder to assist in identifying adolescents at suicidal risk.
    Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior 05/2012; 42(4):426-36. · 1.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prior research suggests that drug abuse (DA) is strongly influenced by both genetic and familial environmental factors. No large-scale adoption study has previously attempted to verify and integrate these findings. To determine how genetic and environmental factors contribute to the risk for DA. Follow-up in 9 public databases (1961-2009) of adopted children and their biological and adoptive relatives. Sweden. The study included 18 115 adopted children born between 1950 and 1993; 78,079 biological parents and siblings; and 51,208 adoptive parents and siblings. Drug abuse recorded in medical, legal, or pharmacy registry records. Risk for DA was significantly elevated in the adopted offspring of biological parents with DA (odds ratio, 2.09; 95% CI, 1.66-2.62), in biological full and half siblings of adopted children with DA (odds ratio, 1.84; 95% CI, 1.28-2.64; and odds ratio, 1.41; 95% CI, 1.19-1.67, respectively), and in adoptive siblings of adopted children with DA (odds ratio, 1.95; 95% CI, 1.43-2.65). A genetic risk index (including biological parental or sibling history of DA, criminal activity, and psychiatric or alcohol problems) and an environmental risk index (including adoptive parental history of divorce, death, criminal activity, and alcohol problems, as well as an adoptive sibling history of DA and psychiatric or alcohol problems) both strongly predicted the risk for DA. Including both indices along with sex and age at adoption in a predictive model revealed a significant positive interaction between the genetic and environmental risk indices. Drug abuse is an etiologically complex syndrome strongly influenced by a diverse set of genetic risk factors reflecting a specific liability to DA, by a vulnerability to other externalizing disorders, and by a range of environmental factors reflecting marital instability, as well as psychopathology and criminal behavior in the adoptive home. Adverse environmental effects on DA are more pathogenic in individuals with high levels of genetic risk. These results should be interpreted in the context of limitations of the diagnosis of DA from registries.
    Archives of general psychiatry 03/2012; 69(7):690-7. · 12.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Heritability estimates of general intelligence in adulthood generally range from 75 to 85%, with all heritability due to additive genetic influences, while genetic dominance and shared environmental factors are absent, or too small to be detected. These estimates are derived from studies based on the classical twin design and are based on the assumption of random mating. Yet, considerable positive assortative mating has been reported for general intelligence. Unmodeled assortative mating may lead to biased estimates of the relative magnitude of genetic and environmental factors. To investigate the effects of assortative mating on the estimates of the variance components of intelligence, we employed an extended twin-family design. Psychometric IQ data were available for adult monozygotic and dizygotic twins, their siblings, the partners of the twins and siblings, and either the parents or the adult offspring of the twins and siblings (N = 1314). Two underlying processes of assortment were considered: phenotypic assortment and social homogamy. The phenotypic assortment model was slightly preferred over the social homogamy model, suggesting that assortment for intelligence is mostly due to a selection of mates on similarity in intelligence. Under the preferred phenotypic assortment model, the variance of intelligence in adulthood was not only due to non-shared environmental (18%) and additive genetic factors (44%) but also to non-additive genetic factors (27%) and phenotypic assortment (11%).This non-additive nature of genetic influences on intelligence needs to be accommodated in future GWAS studies for intelligence.
    Behavior Genetics 03/2012; 42(2):187-98. · 2.84 Impact Factor
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    Kevin Arceneaux, Martine Johnson, Hermine H Maes
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    ABSTRACT: Political sophistication is a concept that encompasses political reasoning, the coherence of people's issue attitudes, and their knowledge of political processes. To what extent is political sophistication affected by genes and environments? Do these distinct but related measures of sophistication share a common genetic structure? We analyze survey data collected from participants in the Minnesota Twin Registry to estimate influences of genes and environments on variables used to measure political sophistication. Additive genetic factors explain 48-76% of the variation in educational attainment, political interest, and political knowledge, while dominance genetics influence 28% of the variance of ideological consistency. Multivariate analyses show that, although these measures share common genetic and unique environmental factors to a modest extent, much of the variance is explained by specific genetic and unique environmental factors. Ideological consistency appears to be mostly distinct from the other measures, as it is strongly accounted for by unique environmental influences.
    Twin Research and Human Genetics 02/2012; 15(1):34-41. · 1.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This article reviews current advances in the genetics of substance use disorders (SUDs). Both genetic and environmental sources of risk are required to develop a complete picture of SUD etiology. Genetic sources of risk for SUDs are not highly substance specific in their effects. Genetic and environmental risks for SUDs typically do not only add together but also interact with each other over development. Risk gene identification for SUDs has been difficult, with one recent success in identifying nicotinic receptor variants that affect risk for nicotine dependence. The impact of genetic variants on SUD risk will individually be small. Although genetic epidemiologic methods are giving us an increasingly accurate map of broad causal pathways to SUDs, gene discovery will be needed to identify the specific biological systems. Identifying these risk genes and understanding their action will require large clinical samples, and interaction between these studies and work in model organisms.
    Nature Neuroscience 02/2012; 15(2):181-9. · 14.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Negative life events are strongly associated with the development of depression. However, the etiologic relationship between life events and depression is complex. Evidence suggests that life events can cause depression, and depression increases the risk for life events. Additionally, third factors influencing both phenotypes may be involved. In this work we sought to disentangle these relationships using a genetically informative longitudinal design. Adult female twins (n=536, including 281 twin pairs) were followed up for measurements of negative life event exposure and depressive symptoms. Four follow-ups were completed, each approximately 3 months apart. Model fitting was carried out using the Mx program. The best-fitting model included causal paths from life events to depressive symptoms for genetic and shared environmental risk factors, whereas paths from depressive symptoms to life events were apparent for shared environmental factors. Shared latent influence on both phenotypes was found for individual-specific effects. Life events and depressive symptoms have complex inter-relationships that differ across sources of variance. The results of the model, if replicated, indicate that reducing life event exposure would reduce depressive symptoms and that lowering depressive symptoms would decrease the occurrence of negative life events.
    Psychological Medicine 01/2012; 42(9):1801-14. · 5.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT:   A critical issue in devising effective interventions for the treatment of children's behavioral and emotional problems identifying genuine family environmental factors that place children at risk. In most twin and family studies, environmental factors are confounded with both direct genetic risk from parents and the indirect effect of genes influencing parents' ability to provide an optimal rearing environment. The present study was undertaken to determine whether parental psychopathology, specifically parental antisocial behavior (ASP), is a genuine environmental risk factor for juvenile conduct disturbance, depression and hyperactivity, or whether the association between parental ASP and children's behavioral and emotional problems can be explained as a secondary consequence of the intergenerational transmission of genetic factors.   An extended children of twins design comprised of data collected on 2,674 adult female and male twins, their spouses, and 2,454 of their children was used to test whether genetic and/or family environmental factors best accounted for the association between parental antisocial behavior and children's behavioral problems. An age-matched sample of 2,826 juvenile twin pairs from the Virginia Twin Study of Adolescent Behavioral Development was also included to examine developmental differences in gene expression by partitioning child-specific transmissible effects from those effects that persist into adulthood. The fit of alternative models was evaluated using the statistical program Mx.   We found distinct patterns of transmission between parental antisocial behavior and juvenile conduct, depression and hyperactivity. Genetic and family environmental factors accounted for the resemblance between parents' ASP and children's conduct disturbance. Family environmental factors alone explained the association between child depression and parental ASP, and the impact of parental ASP on hyperactivity was entirely genetic.   These findings underscore differences in the contribution of genetic and environmental factors on the patterns of association between parental antisocial behavior and juvenile psychopathology, having important clinical implications for the prevention and amelioration of child behavioral and emotional problems.
    Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 12/2011; 53(6):668-77. · 5.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to validate and cross-validate the Beunen-Malina-Freitas method for non-invasive prediction of adult height in girls. A sample of 420 girls aged 10-15 years from the Madeira Growth Study were measured at yearly intervals and then 8 years later. Anthropometric dimensions (lengths, breadths, circumferences, and skinfolds) were measured; skeletal age was assessed using the Tanner-Whitehouse 3 method and menarcheal status (present or absent) was recorded. Adult height was measured and predicted using stepwise, forward, and maximum R (2) regression techniques. Multiple correlations, mean differences, standard errors of prediction, and error boundaries were calculated. A sample of the Leuven Longitudinal Twin Study was used to cross-validate the regressions. Age-specific coefficients of determination (R (2)) between predicted and measured adult height varied between 0.57 and 0.96, while standard errors of prediction varied between 1.1 and 3.9 cm. The cross-validation confirmed the validity of the Beunen-Malina-Freitas method in girls aged 12-15 years, but at lower ages the cross-validation was less consistent. We conclude that the Beunen-Malina-Freitas method is valid for the prediction of adult height in girls aged 12-15 years. It is applicable to European populations or populations of European ancestry.
    Journal of Sports Sciences 12/2011; 29(15):1683-91. · 2.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The current study examined the association between substance use in the household during childhood, parental attitudes towards substance use and lifetime substance use in males. Subjects included 1081 monozygotic and 707 dizygotic twins from the Virginia Adult Twin Study of Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders. Retrospective reports of substance use and features of the family environment (adult household substance use and parental attitudes towards substance use) were obtained using a life history interview. A trivariate Cholesky decomposition was conducted using the program Mx to decompose common shared environmental variance. Findings suggest that family environmental factors accounted for a large proportion of the shared environmental effects for illicit drug use. Results illustrate an important way of extending behavior genetic research to reveal specific etiological environmental mechanisms.
    Behavior Genetics 10/2011; 42(3):345-53. · 2.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Genetic and environmental factors are important in the etiology of substance use. However, little is known about the stability of these factors across development. We aimed to answer three crucial questions about this etiology that have never been addressed in a single study: (1) Is there a general vulnerability to substance consumption from early adolescence to young adulthood? (2) If so, do the genetic and environmental influences on this vulnerability change across development? (3) Do these developmental processes differ in males and females? Subjects included 1480 twin pairs from the Swedish Twin Study of Child and Adolescent Development who have been followed since 1994. Prospective, self-reported regular smoking, alcohol intoxication and illicit drug use were assessed at ages 13-14, 16-17 and 19-20 years. Structural modeling was performed with the program Mx. An underlying common factor accounted for the association between smoking, alcohol and illicit drug consumption for the three age groups. Common genetic and shared environmental effects showed substantial continuity. In general, as participants aged, the influence of the shared environment decreased, and genetic effects became more substance specific in their effect. The current report answers three important questions in the etiology of substance use. The genetic and environmental risk for substance consumption is partly mediated through a common factor and is partly substance specific. Developmentally, evidence was strongest for stability of common genetic effects, with less evidence for genetic innovation. These processes seem to be the same in males and females.
    Psychological Medicine 09/2011; 41(9):1907-16. · 5.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The primary aim of this study was to quantify genetic and environmental influences on the frequency of spontaneously occurring micronuclei in children and adults. To meet this aim, a total of 63 male and female twin pairs and 19 singletons (145 individuals) were evaluated, ranging in age from 7 to 85 years. Micronuclei frequencies significantly increased with age for both genders (r = 0.49, P < 0.001), with the lowest and highest rates being seen in the 7- to 9 (mean = 0.56%, SD = .28) and 60- to 69-year-olds (mean = 2.12%, SD = 1.0), respectively. This age effect was significantly more pronounced in females than males (P = 0.017). In addition to the main effect of age, the completion of puberty in either gender (P = 0.036) and menopause in females (P = 0.024) was associated with a significant increase in micronuclei frequencies. Genetic model fitting indicated that influences from both additive genetic (65.2% of variance) and unique environmental (34.8% of variance) sources best explained the observed micronuclei frequencies in monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs. Self-reported health conditions associated with an increased frequency of micronuclei included a history of allergies (P < 0.007) and migraines (P = 0.026). Multivitamin use was also associated with increased micronuclei frequencies (P = 0.004). In contrast, significantly lower micronuclei frequencies were associated with arthritis (P = 0.002), as well as consuming fruit (P = 0.014), green, leafy vegetables (P < 0.001) and/or folate-enriched bread (P = 0.035). A sex-specific effect, resulting in a significantly increased frequency of micronuclei with tobacco usage, was observed for females (but not males). Gender differences also moderated the impact of vitamin D and calcium consumption. In conclusion, the frequency of spontaneously arising micronuclei in humans is a complex trait, being influenced by both heritable genetic and environmental components. Recognition of factors contributing to baseline levels of micronuclei should provide guidance to researchers in designing studies to evaluate agents hypothesised to influence chromosomal instability.
    Mutagenesis 07/2011; 26(6):745-52. · 3.50 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

5k Citations
447.06 Total Impact Points


  • 2012–2013
    • Maastricht University
      • MHeNS School for Mental Health and Neuroscience
      Maestricht, Limburg, Netherlands
    • Temple University
      • Department of Political Science
      Philadelphia, PA, United States
  • 2000–2013
    • Virginia Commonwealth University
      • • Department of Psychiatry
      • • Department of Human and Molecular Genetics
      • • Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics
      • • Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences
      Richmond, Virginia, United States
    • Utrecht University
      Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • 2011
    • University of Chicago
      Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • 2010
    • Washington University in St. Louis
      • Department of Psychiatry
      Saint Louis, MO, United States
  • 1997–2009
    • University of Colorado at Boulder
      • Institute for Behavioral Genetics (IBG)
      Boulder, CO, United States
    • London Research Institute
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 2005
    • University of Virginia
      • Department of Psychology
      Charlottesville, VA, United States
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
      • Department of Medicine
      Chapel Hill, NC, United States
  • 1991–2005
    • University of Leuven
      • • Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Science (FaBeR)
      • • Department of Biomedical Kinesiology
      • • Department of Human Genetics
      • • Section of Nuclear and Radiation Physics (IKS)
      Louvain, Flanders, Belgium
  • 2004
    • Gonzaga University
      Spokane, Washington, United States
  • 1999
    • University of Queensland
      Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  • 1998
    • MCV Hospitals
      Richmond, Virginia, United States