Document Type



We review the literature on statistical genetic analyses of blood pressure in samples from various ethnic backgrounds using different statistical methods and packages. We then provide the results of a complex segregation analysis performed on familial data on systolic and diastolic blood pressure in 2 ethnically different populations, Chuvashans and Turkmenians. Two types of major gene models were tested in the segregation analysis: Model type 1 tests for a Mendelian mode of transmission and estimates genotype-specific averages regardless of age and sex effect, and model type 2 estimates age and sex effects on each of 3 genotypes within the putative major genotype. In both total samples, by both types of segregation analysis, familial aggregation of both systolic and diastolic blood pressure was inconsistent with the Mendelian mode of inheritance. In the next step of analysis the pedigrees in both samples were sorted into 2 groups on the basis of 2 likelihoods as obtained under Mendelian and nontransmission models for each entire sample. This procedure resulted in the appearance of 2 subsamples (large and small) in each ethnic sample. The segregation analysis that was carried out then on the larger subsample provided consistent evidence to support the major gene effect on systolic and diastolic blood pressure in 2 ethnic groups. Interestingly, model type 2 showed that in both ethnically different large subsamples, for each sex the genotype predisposing to a larger mean value of systolic (or diastolic) blood pressure also displayed the highest rate of blood pressure increase with age. We discuss in detail possible sources of heterogeneity in familial transmission of blood pressure observed in our 2 samples, and we suggest a method to improve the analysis of heterogeneity for trait inheritance.