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J Hum Hypertens. 1993 Oct; 7(5): 451-5.

Relative role of genes and environment on BP: twin studies in Madras, India.

Rao RM, Reddy GP, Grim CE.

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles, California 90059.

This study was conducted to test the feasibility of the twin research model in a developing country with diverse cultures and to understand the relative influence of genetic and environmental factors on BP variation among South Indians. This was a cross-sectional twin study of volunteers using a two-by-two factorial design for the analysis of quantitative traits. The factors were twin type (monozygotic and dizygotic) and sex (male and female). The study was conducted in Madras. Twenty-four pairs of twins were contacted for participation in the project. Of the 24 pairs we contacted, 91% (20) actually participated in our study. Among 20 sets we studied, 10 (50%) are males and 10 (50%) are females with an average age of 23 years. The mean SBP of this volunteer twin population was 115.18 +/- 1.27 mmHg and DBP was 68.53 +/- 1.41 mmHg. Analysis of dietary habits (vegetarian/nonvegetarian) showed that BP was greater (118.26 +/- 2.29/71.88 +/- 2.34 mmHg) in vegetarian twins than nonvegetarians (112.28 +/- 1.42/66.2 +/- 1.90 mmHg). Also a positive correlation between urinary excretion of calcium and BP was observed. The present study demonstrates that epidemiological research in a developing country like India is feasible and economical, using the twin research methodology. As observed in other populations, the major source of BP variation in the population appears to be predominantly under genetic control.

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