Aerobic performance in brothers, dizygotic and monozygotic twins

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1986 Dec;18(6):639-46.


Forty-two brothers, 66 dizygotic twins of both sexes and 106 monozygotic twins of both sexes, 16 to 34 yr of age, took part in this study that was designed to investigate the effect of heredity in aerobic performance. Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max), maximal heart rate (HR max), maximal ventilation, and maximal oxygen pulse were obtained from a progressive ergocycle test to exhaustion. Total work output in a 90-min maximal ergocycle test was also determined in the twins. Fat-free weight was estimated from body density measurements obtained through underwater weighing. Aerobic performance scores were adjusted for age (brothers), and age and sex (dizygotic and monozygotic twins) by regression procedures. Dizygotic twins and brothers of same sibship exhibited about the same level of resemblance for all variables or were only slightly different, with the exception of HR max. Monozygotic pairs were generally more alike than the other sibs, as suggested by the intra-class coefficients. Twin data were used to compute the genetic effects. The within-pair estimate of genetic variance revealed that it was significant (P less than or equal to 0.05) for all variables except VO2 max X kg-1 fat-free weight X min-1. In the case of HR max, the among-pairs component estimate had to be used, and it also proved significant (P less than or equal to 0.01). The size of the genetic effect was computed from three different methods, and it reached about 40% for VO2 max X kg-1 X min-1, 50% for HR max, 60% for maximal oxygen pulse and maximal ventilation, and 70% for 90-min work output X kg-1.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Body Weight
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption*
  • Physical Endurance*
  • Research Design
  • Respiration
  • Sex Factors
  • Twins*
  • Twins, Dizygotic
  • Twins, Monozygotic*