Complex segregation analysis of antibodies to thyroid peroxidase in Old Order Amish families

D. L. Pauls, M. Zakarija, J. M. McKenzie, J. A. Egeland

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24 Scopus citations


Autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD) may be characterized by the measurement in serum of antibodies to thyroid peroxidase. A population of Old Order Amish individuals and families was investigated to determine the prevalence of these antibodies and to examine hypotheses about the mode of transmission of thyroid antibodies. Complex segregation analyses were performed on 4 large multigenerational Old Order Amish families composed of 26 nuclear families containing 199 first degree relatives. Several alternative hypotheses of genetic transmission were examined. Hypotheses of no transmission, polygenic inheritance, single locus transmission, and mixed inheritance were compared. The analyses incorporated population prevalences obtained from a random sample of individuals. Results suggest that the pattern of transmission of thyroid antibodies in these families is consistent with a mixed model in which the major gene is transmitted in an autosomal dominant pattern. The mixed model postulates that there is a single gene of major effect as well as a polygenic component that can act separately and/or together to confer susceptibility for this phenotype. The parameter estimates for the major locus are: gene frequency (q), 0.16 ± 0.01; maximum male penetrance, 0.35; and maximum female penetrance, 0.70. The heritability of the polygenic background is estimated at 0.41.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-379
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of medical genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1993


  • autoimmune thyroid disease
  • genetics
  • polygenic background

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)


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