A multifactorial model incorporating temporal trends in its parameters is discussed. The model is a generalization of the tau model of Rice et al. in which the parameters are assumed to be specific functions of time. A special case of this model is fit to data on height, weight, and Quetelet index in 1,067 nuclear families to demonstrate the utility of the approach. The results indicate that there is considerable temporal variation in family resemblance over time for all three traits. For height and Quetelet index, both the transmissibility, comparable to heritability, and residual sibling environmental correlation show temporal changes, while for weight, only the latter exhibits significant trends. Trends were not found in the marital correlation for any of the traits, and only limited evidence was found for trends in the materials transmission parameter for height. This provides an objective method for evaluating the nature and sources of temporal trends in family resemblance, which can easily beincorporated into the framework of any model-based approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-192
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican journal of human genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1985


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