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Genet Epidemiol. 1993;10(3):201-13.

Genetic analysis of drinking behavior in World War II veteran twins.

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  • 1Health Sciences Program, SRI International, Menlo Park, California 94025.


The objective of the present study was to investigate longitudinal changes in drinking behaviors of adult male twins and model these changes as a function of genetic and environmental influences. Alcohol data available for World War II veteran twins, first surveyed in 1967-69 and followed up during 1983-85, were used to examine components of variability in measures of alcohol consumption. Multivariate biometric analysis of these data indicated 1) longitudinal stability of drinking behaviors in this cohort, 2) a significant contribution of genetic factors to the observed stability that accounted for more than 80% of the stable variation in frequency and in quantity of alcohol consumed per drinking occasion, and 3) evidence for a significant contribution of shared environmental influences to drinking of specific beverages (e.g., wine). The implications of these results for issues of health in the elderly are considered.

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