Estimation of additive genetic and environmental sources of quantitative trait variation using data on married couples and their siblings

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Twin studies have been used to understand the sources of genetic and environmental variation in body height, body weight and other common human quantitative traits. However, it is rather unclear whether these two sources of variation could be really separated in practice. Here, we consider a special study design where phenotype data from married couples and their siblings have been collected. The marital status gives information about the shared environment, while siblings give information about both genetic and environmental variation. To dissect sources of variation and to allow some deviations and pedigree errors in the data, we model such data using a robust polygenic model with finite genome length assumption. As a summary, we provide the estimates for age-dependent proportions of total variation which are due to polygenic and environmental effects. Here, these estimates are provided for body height, weight, systolic blood pressure and total serum cholesterol measured from subjects of the Indian Migration Study.

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