Effects of censoring on parameter estimates and power in genetic modeling.

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Genetic and environmental influences on variance in phenotypic traits may be estimated with normal theory Maximum Likelihood (ML). However, when the assumption of multivariate normality is not met, this method may result in biased parameter estimates and incorrect likelihood ratio tests. We simulated multivariate normal distributed twin data under the assumption of three different genetic models. Genetic model fitting was performed in six data sets: multivariate normal data, discrete uncensored data, censored data, square root transformed censored data, normal scores of censored data, and categorical data. Estimates were obtained with normal theory ML (data sets 1-5) and with categorical data analysis (data set 6). Statistical power was examined by fitting reduced models to the data. When fitting an ACE model to censored data, an unbiased estimate of the additive genetic effect was obtained. However, the common environmental effect was underestimated and the unique environmental effect was overestimated. Transformations did not remove this bias. When fitting an ADE model, the additive genetic effect was underestimated while the dominant and unique environmental effects were overestimated. In all models, the correct parameter estimates were recovered with categorical data analysis. However, with categorical data analysis, the statistical power decreased. The analysis of L-shaped distributed data with normal theory ML results in biased parameter estimates. Unbiased parameter estimates are obtained with categorical data analysis, but the power decreases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)659-669
JournalTwin Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Cohort Studies

  • Netherlands Twin Register (NTR)


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