Heritability and Genetic Correlations of Metabolic Disease-Related Phenotypes in Mexico: Preliminary Report from the GEMM Family Study

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major cause of mortality in the Republic of Mexico, and metabolic syndrome, a complex of CVD risk factors, is increasingly prevalent. To date, however, there have been few studies of the genetic epidemiology of metabolic syndrome in Mexico. As a first step in implementing the GEMM Family Study, a large, multicenter collaborative study, we recruited 375 individuals in 21 extended families, without ascertainment on disease, at 9 medical institutions across Mexico. Participants were measured for anthropometric (stature, weight, waist circumference) and hemodynamic (blood pressure, heart rate) phenotypes; glucose, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels were measured in fasting blood. Variance components–based quantitative genetic analyses were performed using SOLAR. All phenotypes except diastolic blood pressure were significantly heritable. Consistent with the definition of metabolic syndrome, many phenotypes exhibited significant environmental correlation, and significant genetic correlations were found between measures of adiposity and fasting glucose and

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fasting triglyceride levels. These preliminary data represent the first heritability estimates for many of these phenotypes in the Republic of Mexico and indicate that this study design offers excellent power for future gene discovery relative to metabolic disease.