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Genetic and Environmental Overlaps Among Sasang Constitution Types: A Multivariate Twin Study

  • Yoon-Mi Hur (a1), Siwoo Lee (a2) and Hee-Jeong Jin (a2)

Abstract

According to the Sasang theory, humans can be categorized into one of the four Sasang constitution (SC) types. The four SC types are Tae-Yang (TY), Tae-Eum (TE), So-Yang (SY), and So-Eum (SE), which are determined mainly on the basis of anthropometric characteristics, personality, and the balance of the physiological functions of the major organ systems. There is a growing recognition in the complementary and alternative medicine area that SC types have the potential to be a useful scientific tool for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases (Cooper, Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Vol. 6 (Suppl. 1), 2009, pp. 1–3). The main purposes of the present study are to estimate genetic and environmental influences on SC types, and to explore genetic and environmental correlations that affect phenotypic associations among the SC types. In total, 1,742 (365 monozygotic male, 173 dizygotic male, 675 monozygotic female, 271 dizygotic female, and 258 opposite-sex dizygotic) twins (mean age = 19.1 ± 3.1 year) completed a Sasang questionnaire. Univariate and multivariate model-fitting analyses were performed. Total (additive and non-additive) genetic influences were 71% for males and 81% for females in TE, 70% for males and 71% for females in SE, and 47% for both sexes in SY. Non-additive genetic effects were substantial, and shared environmental influences were negligible in most SC types. Multivariate model-fitting analysis revealed that non-additive genetic and individual-specific environmental correlations between TE and SE were -0.92 (95% CI [-0.89, -0.93]) and -0.62 (95% CI [-0.57, -0.68]), respectively. The corresponding estimates were -0.55 (95% CI [-0.48, -0.61]) and -0.44 (95% CI [-0.37, -0.51]) between TE and SY and 0.19 (95% CI [0.09, 0.29]) and -0.40 (95% CI [-0.32, -0.47]) between SE and SY. These results suggest that the phenotypic associations among SC types may be mediated by pleiotropic mechanism of genes.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

address for correspondence: Hee-Jeong Jin, Mibyeong Research Center, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine (KIOM), 461-24 Jeonmin-dong, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-811, Republic of Korea. E-mail: hjjin@kiom.re.kr.

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