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To assess the relative contribution of genetic factors in the variation of F cells (FC) and other hematologic variables, we conducted a classical twin study in unselected twins. The sample included 264 identical (monozygotic [MZ]) twin pairs and 511 nonidentical (dizygotic [DZ]) same-sex twin pairs (aged 20 to 80 years) from the St. Thomas' UK Adult Twin Register. The FC values were distributed continuously and positively skewed, with values ranging from 0.6% to 22%. FC values were higher in women than in men and decreased with age, with the variables accounting for 2% of the total FC variance. The intraclass correlations of FC values were higher in MZ (rMZ = 0.89) than in DZ (rDZ = 0.49) twins. The XmnI-(G)gamma polymorphism in the beta-globin gene cluster had a significant effect on FC levels, accounting for approximately 13% of the total FC variance. Variance components analysis showed that the FC values were accounted for predominantly by additive genetic and nonshared environmental influences, with an estimate of heritability of 0.89. Hemoglobin levels and red blood cell, white blood cell, and platelet numbers were also substantially heritable, with heritability estimates of 0.37, 0.42, 0.62, and 0.57, respectively. Previously, studies of sib pairs with sickle cell disease and isolated family studies showed that high levels of Hb F and FC tend to be inherited. Here, our classical twin study demonstrated that the variance of FC levels in healthy adults is largely genetically determined. (Blood. 2000;95:342-346)


Journal article



Publication Date





342 - 346


Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, Oxford, UK.


Erythrocytes, Humans, Hemoglobins, Globins, Erythrocyte Count, Leukocyte Count, Platelet Count, Registries, Cohort Studies, Sex Factors, Twins, Dizygotic, Twins, Monozygotic, Genotype, Phenotype, Polymorphism, Genetic, Models, Genetic, Adult, Aged, Middle Aged, Female, Male, United Kingdom