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Behav Genet. 2017 Jul;47(4):425-433. doi: 10.1007/s10519-017-9841-7. Epub 2017 Apr 17.

A New Look at Genetic and Environmental Architecture on Lipids Using Non-Normal Structural Equation Modeling in Male Twins: The NHLBI Twin Study.

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Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics-Laredo Campus, The University of Texas Health at San Antonio, Laredo, TX, USA.
Graduate School of Business Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tokyo, Japan.
Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA.
Center for Health Sciences, SRI International, Menlo Park, CA, USA.
Department of Public Health, Des Moines University, Des Moines, IA, USA.
Division of Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, Institute of Medicine and Public Health, Vanderbilt Center for Translational and Clinical Cardiovascular Research (VTRACC), Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.


This study examined genetic and environmental influences on the lipid concentrations of 1028 male twins using the novel univariate non-normal structural equation modeling (nnSEM) ADCE and ACE models. In the best fitting nnSEM ADCE model that was also better than the nnSEM ACE model, additive genetic factors (A) explained 4%, dominant genetic factors (D) explained 17%, and common (C) and unique (E) environmental factors explained 47% and 33% of the total variance of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). The percentage of variation explained for other lipids was 0% (A), 30% (D), 34% (C) and 37% (E) for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C); 30, 0, 31 and 39% for total cholesterol; and 0, 31, 12 and 57% for triglycerides. It was concluded that additive and dominant genetic factors simultaneously affected HDL-C concentrations but not other lipids. Common and unique environmental factors influenced concentrations of all lipids.


Environmental effect; Genetic effect; Lipids; Non-normal structural equation modeling; Twin

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