This study represents the first formal examination for heterogeneity in the familial aggregation of fasting serum uric acid (UA) levels. Data from 5 clinics (Cincinnati, Stanford, Iowa, Minnesota, and Oklahoma) participating in the Lipid Research Clinics (LRC) family study, which included a total of 685 nuclear families (N = 2,146), were analyzed. Heterogeneity among the clinics in familial resemblance was detected. However, this heterogeneity could not be attributed to differences in distributional properties (such as means and variances) or to path model parameters representing latent genetic or cultural (environmental) components associated with UA levels. Intergenerational differences in genetic heritabilities were found, with higher offspring (h2 = 43%) than parent (h2z2 = 16%) estimates, but no generational differences were detected for cultural heritability (c2 = 0.09). Equal maternal and paternal cultural transmission was found, and effects due to extra sibling environments and to marital resemblance were both significant. These results show no clear indication as to the source of the heterogeneity observed for familial resemblance of UA levels in randomly selected data. This question should be further investigated, especially in clinical samples such as dyslipoproteinemic families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-225
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of medical genetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1990


  • heritability
  • intergenerational differences
  • path analysis
  • uric acid


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