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Behav Genet. 2005 Jul;35(4):397-406.

Heritability of smoking initiation and nicotine dependence.

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Department of Biological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


In contrast to other aspects of smoking behavior, little attention has been paid to the genetics of nicotine dependence. In this paper, three models (single liability dimension, independent liability dimension and combined model) have been applied to data on smoking initiation and nicotine dependence (n = 1572 Dutch twin pairs, mean age 30.5). A combined model best described the data. This model postulates a smoking initiation dimension and a nicotine dependence dimension, which are not independent. For both males and females, individual differences in smoking initiation were explained by genetic (44%), shared environmental (51%) and unique environmental (5%) influences. The nicotine dependence dimension was influenced only by genetic (75%) and unique environmental (25%) factors. The substantial impact of genetic factors on nicotine dependence emphasizes the need for further research to localize and identify specific genes and pathways involved in nicotine dependence.

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