Twin Research

Articles

Power of the Classical Twin Design Revisited

Peter M. Visschera1 c1

a1 School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom. peter.visscher@ed.ac.uk

Abstract

Statistical power of the classical twin design was revisited. The approximate sampling variances of a least-squares estimate of the heritability in a univariate analysis and estimate of the genetic correlation coefficient in a bivariate analysis were derived analytically for the ACE model. Statistical power to detect additive genetic variation under the ACE model was derived analytically for least-squares, goodness-of-fit and maximum likelihood-based test statistics. The noncentrality parameter for the likelihood ratio test statistic is shown to be a simple function of the MZ and DZ intraclass correlation coefficients and the proportion of MZ and DZ twin pairs in the sample. All theoretical results were validated using simulation. The derived expressions can be used to calculate power of the classical twin design in a simple and rapid manner.

(Received May 13 2004)

(Accepted June 14 2004)

Correspondence:

c1 Address for correspondence: Peter M. Visscher, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, Scotland, UK.

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