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Eat Behav. 2010 Apr;11(2):92-8. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2009.10.004. Epub 2009 Oct 31.

Shared and unique genetic and environmental influences on binge eating and night eating: a Swedish twin study.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7160, United States.

Abstract

We applied twin methodology to female and male twin pairs to further understand the nature of the relation between two behaviors associated with eating disorders-binge eating (BE) and night eating (NE) in an effort to determine the extent of overlap of genetic and environmental factors influencing liability to these behaviors. We calculated heritability estimates for males and females for each behavior and applied bivariate twin modeling to the female data to estimate the genetic and environmental correlation between these two traits. Data on BE and NE were derived from the Swedish Twin study of Adults: Genes and Environment (STAGE) of the Swedish Twin Registry (STR; N=11,604). Prevalence estimates revealed sex differences with females more likely to endorse BE and males more likely to endorse NE. In males, we were only able to estimate univariate heritabilities due to small sample sizes: The heritability for BE was 0.74 [95% CI=(0.36, 0.93)] and for NE was 0.44 [95% CI=(0.24, 0.61)]. The best fitting bivariate model for females included additive genetic and unique environmental factors as well as the genetic correlation between BE and NE. Heritability estimates were 0.70 [95% CI=(0.26, 0.77)] for BE and 0.35 [95% CI=(0.17, 0.52)] for NE. The genetic correlation, 0.66 [95% CI=(0.48, 0.96)] suggests considerable overlap in the genetic factors influencing liability to BE and NE. In females, there is considerable overlap in the genetic factors that contribute to these traits, but the incomplete overlap allows for the influence of independent genetic and environmental factors as well. BE and NE in females are therefore best conceptualized as related but not identical traits.

Copyright 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

PMID:
20188292
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2830904
Free PMC Article

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