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It has been suggested that genetic factors control blood pressure level at all ages. However, the evidence is limited because of the composite nature of blood pressure and the heterogeneity of the studied samples. The purpose of the present study is to test for genetic influences on systolic blood pressure (SBP) level in a community-based Israeli family study. Segregation analysis was performed on 622 adults from 208 pedigrees. Age, sex, and body mass index (BMI) were significant covariates of SBP. Segregation analysis rejected the environmental transmission model but not the mixed Mendelian transmission model. The bestfitting genetic model was the mixed codominant model, with a heritability of 0.32 and an allele frequency of 0.18 for high SBP level. We further tested whether SBP and BMI shared a common major gene effect. Using bivariate segregation analysis involving two traits and a single locus, we found evidence for a single-locus pleiotropic effect on SBP and BMI. The allele frequency of this major locus was 0.24. The residual genetic correlation resulting from additive polygenes and the environmental correlation between these two traits were not different from zero after taking into account the shared major gene effect. The proportion of phenotypic variation attributable to this major gene effect increased with age for SBP but decreased with age for BMI.