We report heritabilities for individual differences in female pubertal development at the age of 12. Tanner data on breast and pubic hair development in girls and data on menarche were obtained from a total of 184 pairs of monozygotic and dizygotic twins. Genetic correlations were estimated to determine to what extent the same genes are involved in different aspects of physical development in puberty. A Bayesian estimation approach was taken, using Markovchain Monte Carlo simulation to estimate model parameters. All three phenotypes were to a significant extent heritable and showed high genetic correlations, suggesting that a common set of genes is involved in the timing of puberty in general. However, gonadarche (menarche and breast development) and adrenarche (pubic hair) are affected by different environmental factors, which does not support the three phenotypes to be regarded as indicators of a unitary physiological factor.
- Bayesian statistics
- Genetic correlation