Estimating Heritability from Twin Studies

  • Katrina L. Grasby
  • Karin J. H. Verweij
  • Miriam A. Mosing
  • Brendan P. Zietsch
  • Sarah E. Medland
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1666)


This chapter describes how the heritability of a trait can be estimated using data collected from pairs of twins. The principles of the classical twin design are described, followed by the assumptions, and some possible extensions of the design. In the second part of this chapter, two example scripts are presented and the basic steps for estimating heritability using the statistical program OpenMx are explained. OpenMx and the scripts used for this chapter can be downloaded so that readers can adapt and use the scripts for their own purposes.

Key words

Heritability Behavior genetics Twin OpenMx Quantitative genetics Twin modeling Classical twin design Genetics Environment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katrina L. Grasby
    • 1
  • Karin J. H. Verweij
    • 1
    • 5
  • Miriam A. Mosing
    • 2
    • 3
  • Brendan P. Zietsch
    • 4
  • Sarah E. Medland
    • 1
  1. 1.Genetic EpidemiolgyQIMR Berghofer Medical Research InstituteBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Department of NeuroscienceKarolinska InstituteStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Department of Medical Epidemiology and BiostatisticsKarolinska InstituteStockholmSweden
  4. 4.School of PsychologyUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  5. 5.Behavioural Science InstituteRadboud UniversityMontessorilaan 3The Netherlands

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