Behavior Genetics

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 1-7

First online:

Body fat in identical twins reared apart: Roles for genes and environment

  • R. Arlen PriceAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, HUP
  • , Irving I. GottesmanAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Virginia

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We report analyses of data on body fat from a cohort of 34 separated monozygotic twin pairs (MZA) and a matched sample of 38 pairs of monozygotic twins reared together (MZT) originally studied by James Shields. The correlation for MZA pairs was. 61 and the correlation for MZT pairs was. 75. These correlations did not differ significantly, nor did correlations differ between MZA pairs subclassified as having been raised in relatively more or less similar environments. Our results suggest important roles for both genes and environment in the accumulation of body fat and support other adoption studies in suggesting that adult environments rather than rearing environments are the most important nongenetic determinants of levels of body fat in adults.

Key Words

body fat obesity twins adoption studies