In this study we estimate relative genetic and environmental influences on head-related anthropometric phenotypes. The subject group consisted of 119 nuclear families living in Brussels, Belgium, and included 238 males and 236 females, ages 17 to 72 years. Two factor analyses with vari-max rotation (the first one related to facial measurements and the second one to overall head morphology) were used to analyze 14 craniofacial size traits. The resulting four synthetic traits [HFCF, VFCF, HDF1, and HDF2—horizontal (breadth) and vertical (height) facial factors and two head horizontal (breadth) factors, respectively] were used as summary variables. Maximum heritabilities (H2) were estimated for all studied traits, and variance components analysis was applied to determine the contribution of genetics and environment on the four craniofacial factors. In addition, we examined the covariations between the face (HFCF and VFCF) and head-related factors (HDF1 and HDF2), separately. Quantitative genetic analysis showed that HFCF, VFCF, HDF1, and HDF2 variation was appreciably attributable to additive genetic effects, with heritability (h2) estimates of 67.62%, 54.97%, 70.76%, and 65.05%, respectively. The three variance components reflecting a shared familial environment were nonsignificant for these four phenotypes. Bivariate analysis revealed significant additive and residual correlations for both pair of traits. The results confirm the existence of a significant genetic component determining the four craniofacial synthetic traits, and common genetic and environmental effects shared by the two face-related phenotypes and by the head-related ones.
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Vol. 80 • No. 6