The microarray technique is an important tool in gene expression analysis to study the activities of thousands of genes measured by their transcript levels under disease or laboratory controlled experimental conditions. Recent studies have suggested a genetic component in the variations of gene expression thus indicating the important role of genetic control over gene activities. In this study, we analyze and report the twin correlation on gene expression in whole blood samples of six female Danish twin pairs aged from 81 to 85 years. We studied the expression phenotype by treating the measured gene expression as a quantitative trait and introducing analytical approaches including the traditional twin methods in population genetics and the multivariate statistical methods. Using this combinatory approach, we were able to estimate and compare the twin correlation on the expression phenotype while accounting for systematic influence in microarray experiments. Analyses on our twin data detected a significant correlation on the expression levels of the actively regulated genes in both monozygotic and dizygotic twins, which is more pronounced in monozygotic twins. Gene ontology analysis has shown that these actively regulated genes are predominantly involved in defense and immune responses against antigenic stimulus. In conclusion, the correlation patterns revealed in our twin data provide evidence of the existence of a heritable mechanism in gene expression regulation persistently functioning even in aged subjects.
Tan, Q., Christensen, K., Christiansen, L., Frederiksen, H., Bathum, L., Dahlgaard, J., & Kruse, T. A. (2005). Genetic dissection of gene expression observed in whole blood samples of elderly Danish twins. Human Genetics, 117(2-3), 267-74. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00439-005-1308-x