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Genetics Of Plasma Cholesterol And Triglycerides: A Study Of Adult Male Twins

Joe C. Christian, Manning Feinleib, Stephen B. Hulley, William P. Castelli, Richard R. Fabsitz, Robert J. Garrison, Nemat O. Borhani, Ray H. Rosenman, John Wagner

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Fasting plasma triglycerides and cholesterol, as well as cholesterol in very low density, low density and high density lipoproteins, were measured in 250 MZ and 264 DZ adult male twin pairs. A new method was used to choose an estimate of genetic variance. This includes an estimate of genetic variance for use when the total variances of MZ and DZ twins are unequal. DZ twins had greater total variance for cholesterol. When genetic variance was estimated by subtracting the within-MZ-sets mean square from the within-DZ-sets mean square, all of the lipids had significant estimates of genetic variance; however, when genetic variance was estimated by a method designed to correct bias due to unequal total variances of MZ and DZ twins, only triglycerides had significant genetic variance. The heritability of plasma triglycerides was calculated to be 0.68.