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Extensions to multi variate normal models for pedigree analysis 2. modeling the effect of shared environment in the analysis of variation in blood lead levels


, : Extensions to multi variate normal models for pedigree analysis 2. modeling the effect of shared environment in the analysis of variation in blood lead levels. American Journal of Epidemiology 117(3): 344-355

A multivariate normal model for pedigree analysis is applied to blood lead measurements from 617 individuals in 80 familes in Melbourne, Australia, studied in 1977-1978. A new method is introduced for estimating time dependence of the family covariance matrix for blood lead levels; this time dependence can be interpreted as arising from the effects of common family environment on blood lead levels. Methods for the testing of assumptions and detection of outlying pedigrees and outlying individuals are applied. No correlation between blood lead levels of spouses was observed, but an effect of shared family environment was suggested by the difference between an estimated sibling correlation of .apprx. 0.5 for young sibling pairs living together and of .apprx. 0.1 for older siblings no longer living together. As there was no significant polygenic additive effect, the non-zero correlation between older siblings is more likely to be due to continuing effects of (environmental) factors shared in youth, rather than to a polygenic dominant effect. Smoking 20 cigarettes per day is associated with an increase of .apprx. 12% in blood lead level.

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