Genetic regulation of growth from birth to 18 years of age: the Swedish young male twins study

Karri Silventoinen, Kirsi H Pietiläinen, Per Tynelius, Thorkild I A Sørensen, Jaakko Kaprio, Finn Rasmussen

    47 Citations (Scopus)


    Growth is a complex process, and only little is known on the genetic regulation of it. We analyzed the effect of genetic and environmental factors on growth in a longitudinal Swedish cohort of 231 monozygotic and 144 dizygotic twin pairs born 1973-1979 with length or height measured annually from birth to age 18. The data were analyzed by two different multivariate variance component models for twin data using the Mx statistical package. At birth and 1 year of age, a substantial part of the variation in length was because of common environment (50 and 57%, respectively) and the effect of genetic factors was minor. After 2 years of age, 91-97% of the variation of height could be explained by genetic differences whereas the rest was because of environmental variation not shared by twins. The genetic correlation between heights at ages 2 and 18 was 0.73 (95% confidence intervals 0.68-0.77) showing that 53% of the genes affecting height at these ages are the same or closely linked; with increasing age the correlation with genetic effects at age 18 become subsequently stronger. Especially in mid-childhood, growth was largely regulated by the same genetic factors. During puberty new genetic factors started to affect height, but also genetic variation affecting height at previous ages remained. These results suggest that genetic regulation of growth is rather uniform, which is encouraging for further efforts to identify genes affecting growth.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAmerican journal of human biology : the official journal of the Human Biology Council
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)292-8
    Number of pages7
    Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2008


    • Adolescent
    • Adolescent Development
    • Adult
    • Anthropometry
    • Body Height
    • Child
    • Child Development
    • Child, Preschool
    • Data Collection
    • Gene Expression Regulation
    • Humans
    • Infant
    • Infant, Newborn
    • Male
    • Models, Genetic
    • Questionnaires
    • Sweden
    • Twins


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