Quantile-Specific Heritability of Intakes of Alcohol but not Other Macronutrients.Behav Genet. 2020 Sep; 50(5):332-345.BG
Genetic heritability (h2) of alcohol use is reported to be greater in rural dwellers, distressed marriages, low socioeconomic status, in girls who are unmarried or lacking closeness with their parents or religious upbringing, in less-educated men, and in adolescents with peers using alcohol. However, these are all risk factors for heavy drinking, and the greater heritability could be due to quantile-dependent expressivity, i.e., h2 dependent upon whether the phenotype (alcohol intake) is high or low relative to its distribution. Quantile regression showed that h2 estimated from the offspring-parent regression slope increased significantly from lowest to highest gram/day of alcohol consumption (0.006 ± 0.001 per percent, P = 1.1 × 10-7). Heritability at the 90th percentile of the sample distribution (0.557 ± 0.116) was 4.5-fold greater than at the 10th percentile (0.122 ± 0.037). Heritabilities for intakes of other macronutrients were not quantile-dependent. Thus quantile-dependent expressivity may explain the higher estimated heritability associated with risk factors for high alcohol consumption.