The use of linear mixed models to estimate variance components from data on twin pairs by maximum likelihood

Peter M. Visscher, Beben Benyamin, Ian White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)


It is shown that maximum likelihood estimation of variance components from twin data can be parameterized in the framework of linear mixed models. Standard statistical packages can be used to analyze univariate or multivariate data for simple models such as the ACE and CE models. Furthermore, specialized variance component estimation software that can handle pedigree data and user-defined covariance structures can be used to analyze multivariate data for simple and complex models, including those where dominance and/or QTL effects are fitted. The linear mixed model framework is particularly useful for analyzing multiple traits in extended (twin) families with a large number of random effects.

Number of pages5
JournalTwin Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Genetics(clinical)

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