Genetic influences on premature parturition in an Australian twin sample.Twin Res 2000; 3(2):80-2TR
We investigated possible genetic influences on women's liability to preterm birth, using data from a large sample of Australian female twin pairs. In a 1988-90 questionnaire survey, both members of 905 parous twin pairs (579 monozygotic and 326 dizygotic) reported on whether deliveries had been more than two weeks preterm. Tetrachoric twin pair correlations for first birth were rMZ = 0.20+/-0.11 and rDZ = -0.03+/-0.14, and for any birth were rMZ = 0.30+/-0.08 and rDZ = 0.03+/-0.11. Best-fitting models to data contained only additive genetic influences and individual environmental effects. Heritability was 17% for preterm delivery in first pregnancy, and 27% for preterm delivery in any pregnancy. In the former case, however, we could not reject a model without genetic influences. Although our data did not allow for differentiation of the varying aetiologies of premature parturition, results from this exploratory analysis suggest that further investigation of genetic influences on specific reasons for preterm birth is warranted.