Genetic basis of human female pelvic morphology: a twin study

American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Krishan Sharma


To examine the relative role of genetic and environmental factors on pelvic morphology, data on 60 pairs of female twins (30 monozygotic (MZ) and 30 dizygotic (DZ)) were analyzed. Fourteen pelvic measurements were normally distributed, and two were not. Association of twin type with the mean value of a trait was found in only 1 out of 8 traits. Heterogeneity of variance between zygosities was observed in 4 pelvic traits (50%), invalidating within-pair estimates of genetic variance for these traits. Evidence of stronger environmental covariance for MZ than DZ twins was observed for only one trait (sitting height iliocristale). A significant genetic component of variation was observed for age at menarche and in the pelvic area. In instances where inequality of variances between zygosities was demonstrated, total among-pair and within-pair mean squares were larger for dizygotic than for monozygotic twins. This is interpreted as evidence of greater environmental influence between zygosities. Environmental modification was not of the same magnitude in various pelvic traits. Bitrochanteric breadth had the highest magnitude of cultural heritability, indicating that cultural factors played an important role in determining hip breadth.


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