An Extended Twin-Pedigree Study of Neuroticism in the Netherlands Twin Register

Dorret I. Boomsma* (Corresponding Author), Quinta Helmer, Harold A. Nieuwboer, Jouke-Jan Hottenga, Marleen H.M. Moor, Stéphanie M. van Den Berg, Gareth E. Davies, Jacqueline M. Vink, Maarten J. Schouten, Conor V. Dolan, Gonneke Willemsen, Meike Bartels, Toos C.E.M. van Beijsterveldt, Lannie Ligthart, Eco J.C. de Geus

*Corresponding author for this work

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    For the participants in the Netherlands Twin Register (NTR) we constructed the extended pedigrees which specify all relations among nuclear and larger twin families in the register. A total of 253,015 subjects from 58,645 families were linked to each other, to the degree that we had information on the relations among participants. We describe the algorithm that was applied to construct the pedigrees. For > 30,000 adolescent and adult NTR participants data were available on harmonized neuroticism scores. We analyzed these data in the Mendel software package (Lange et al., Bioinformatics 29(12):1568–1570, 2013) to estimate the contributions of additive and non-additive genetic factors. In contrast to much of the earlier work based on twin data rather than on extended pedigrees, we could also estimate the contribution of shared household effects in the presence of non-additive genetic factors. The estimated broad-sense heritability of neuroticism was 47%, with almost equal contributions of additive and non-additive (dominance) genetic factors. A shared household effect explained 13% and unique environmental factors explained the remaining 40% of the variance in neuroticism.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-11
    Number of pages11
    JournalBehavior genetics
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


    • Extended twin-family design
    • Genetic non-additivity
    • Heritability
    • Netherlands Twin Register
    • Neuroticism
    • Pedigree analysis
    • Shared household effect


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