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Nat Genet. 2015 Jul;47(7):702-9. doi: 10.1038/ng.3285. Epub 2015 May 18.

Meta-analysis of the heritability of human traits based on fifty years of twin studies.

Author information

1
Department of Complex Trait Genetics, VU University, Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
2
Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
3
1] Department of Complex Trait Genetics, VU University, Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. [2] Institute for Computing and Information Sciences, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
4
1] Center for Psychiatric Genomics, Department of Genetics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA. [2] Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA. [3] Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
5
Faculty of Sciences, VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
6
1] Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. [2] University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, Translational Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
7
1] Department of Complex Trait Genetics, VU University, Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. [2] Department of Clinical Genetics, VU University Medical Center, Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Abstract

Despite a century of research on complex traits in humans, the relative importance and specific nature of the influences of genes and environment on human traits remain controversial. We report a meta-analysis of twin correlations and reported variance components for 17,804 traits from 2,748 publications including 14,558,903 partly dependent twin pairs, virtually all published twin studies of complex traits. Estimates of heritability cluster strongly within functional domains, and across all traits the reported heritability is 49%. For a majority (69%) of traits, the observed twin correlations are consistent with a simple and parsimonious model where twin resemblance is solely due to additive genetic variation. The data are inconsistent with substantial influences from shared environment or non-additive genetic variation. This study provides the most comprehensive analysis of the causes of individual differences in human traits thus far and will guide future gene-mapping efforts. All the results can be visualized using the MaTCH webtool.

PMID:
25985137
DOI:
10.1038/ng.3285
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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