Wed, 06/09/2010 - 14:45

Hi ,

I am new to Twin data analysis and would like to get help on how to adjust for covariates ( Age and Gender) in TWIN ACE model to estimate the genetic and environmental variance from the total molecular phenotypic variance . What modifications are needed in the script UnivariateTwinAnalysis_MatrixRaw.R for age and gender adjusted estimation of A, C and E .

Any insight would be of great help.

Sanchita

Hi all,

I have an ordinal model and I'm trying to include covariates in the means model. I tried the suggestions in this thread, but I keep getting an error - The job for model 'univACEOrd' exited abnormally with the error message: Objective function returned an infinite value.

If I comment out sections related to the covariates the model fits fine. The script is below. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.

Thanks,

Carol

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

univACEOrdModel <- mxModel("univACEOrd",

mxModel("ACE",

# Matrices a, c, and e to store a, c, and e path coefficients

mxMatrix( type="Full", nrow=nv, ncol=nv, free=TRUE, values=.6, label="a11", name="a" ),

mxMatrix( type="Full", nrow=nv, ncol=nv, free=TRUE, values=.6, label="c11", name="c" ),

mxMatrix( type="Full", nrow=nv, ncol=nv, free=TRUE, values=.6, label="e11", name="e" ),

# Matrices A, C, and E compute variance components

mxAlgebra( expression=a %*% t(a), name="A" ),

mxAlgebra( expression=c %*% t(c), name="C" ),

mxAlgebra( expression=e %*% t(e), name="E" ),

mxMatrix( type="Zero", nrow=1, ncol=nv, name="M" ),

mxAlgebra( expression= cbind(M,M), name="expMean" ),

mxMatrix(type="Full", nrow=1, ncol=2, free=T, values=0.5, label="thre", name="expThre", dimnames=list('th1',selVars)),

# Algebra to compute total variances and standard deviations (diagonal only)

mxAlgebra( expression=A+C+E, name="V" ),

mxMatrix( type="Iden", nrow=nv, ncol=nv, name="I"),

mxAlgebra( expression=solve(sqrt(I*V)), name="sd"),

mxAlgebra( expression=cbind(A/V,C/V,E/V),name="stndVCs"),

# confidence interval

mxCI("ACE.stndVCs"),

# Constraint on variance of ordinal variables

mxConstraint( V==I, name="Var1"),

#Declare matrix of definition variables

mxMatrix(type="Full", nrow=1, ncol=1, free=TRUE, values=-.15, label="betaSex", name="beta"),

# Algebra for expected variance/covariance matrix in MZ

mxAlgebra( expression= rbind ( cbind(A+C+E , A+C),

cbind(A+C , A+C+E)), name="expCovMZ" ),

# Algebra for expected variance/covariance matrix in DZ, note use of 0.5, converted to 1*1 matrix

mxAlgebra( expression= rbind ( cbind(A+C+E , 0.5%x%A+C),

cbind(0.5%x%A+C , A+C+E)), name="expCovDZ" )

),

mxModel("MZ",

# Matrix & Algebra for expected means vector

mxMatrix(type="Full", nrow=1, ncol=2, free=F, label=c("data.gender1","data.gender2"), name="MZDefVars"),

mxAlgebra(expression=ACE.expMean+ACE.beta %*% MZDefVars, name="expMeanMZ"),

mxData( observed=mzData, type="raw" ),

mxFIMLObjective( covariance="ACE.expCovMZ", means="expMeanMZ", dimnames=selVars, thresholds="ACE.expThre" )

),

mxModel("DZ",

# Matrix & Algebra for expected means vector

mxMatrix(type="Full", nrow=1, ncol=2, free=F,label=c("data.gender1","data.gender2"), name="DZDefVars"),

mxAlgebra(expression=ACE.expMean + ACE.beta %*% DZDefVars, name="expMeanDZ"),

mxData( observed=dzData, type="raw" ),

mxFIMLObjective( covariance="ACE.expCovDZ", means="expMeanDZ", dimnames=selVars, thresholds="ACE.expThre" )

),

mxAlgebra( expression=MZ.objective + DZ.objective, name="2sumll" ),

mxAlgebraObjective("2sumll")

)

Ok, the script is sort of working.

Thanks For Helpful Posts.

I had the same problem as well.

Jhon Kevin

I have the same question. Anyone who can answer this?

It turns out that Hermine & I were both working on responding to this. Her script will probably be better than mine. Various pieces are available in the documentation (the ACE model script and the definition variable example script) and also with a moderated ACE model (for GxE interaction) in which the moderator was regressed out of the observed variable. To learn OpenMx scripting it would be a GREAT exercise for to try to work from these basic scripts and modify them yourself. There are a few bits and pieces that may not be immediately obvious, of which the most significant is that the algebra for computing the moderated means *must* appear in the mxModel()s that contain the data and the mxFIMLObjective() function calls.

Anyway, to get you going, let's step through it. Suppose we start with the ACE Model in matrix specification from the OpenMx documentation (you may want to try modifying the path specification version as an exercise - there is no better way to learn than to try stuff out).

http://openmx.psyc.virginia.edu/docs/OpenMx/latest/GeneticEpi_Matrix.htm...

I altered it up a bit to make it a bit more readable (to me), attached as UnivariateTwinAnalysisModeratedMatrix-1.R

The remaining modifications are:

i) simulate a continuous age variable and a binary sex variable for each twin in each zygosity group

ii) glue these fake data together with the observed variables into a data frame for each zygosity group

iii) set up a matrix in the twinACE mxModel part that will be the beta regression weights on each covariate (two in this case, we are assuming that the same regression exists for twin1 and twin2, and in both MZ and DZ groups)

iv) patch in the algebra to multiply the regression weights by the individual's

These are in the attached UnivariateTwinAnalysisModeratedMatrix-3.R

Now, I have not tested that these scripts actually work as advertised. They look like they do the right thing, but a simulation exercise, say using mvrnorm(), would be a good way to validate them. Another exercise for the OpenMx student :) (or :( depending on your perspective).

I have run into trouble trying to enter 'sex ' as covariate into a multivariate ADE Cholesky script (three informants), based on the principles given in the univariate script UnivariateTwinAnalysis_MatrixRaw-3.R above.

I keep getting the error message :Error in mxModel("ADE", mxMatrix(type = "Lower", nrow = nvar, ncol = nvar, :

argument is missing, with no default

Very grateful for ideas to what is wrong in the following script:

mzData <- data.frame(subset(RSmv_data, ZYGEND==1, c(T1MRS, T1FRS, T1TRS, T2MRS, T2FRS, T2TRS, ASEX,BSEX)))

dzData <- data.frame(subset(RSmv_data, ZYGEND==2, c(T1MRS, T1FRS, T1TRS, T2MRS, T2FRS, T2TRS, ASEX,BSEX)))

ADE_Cholesky2_Model <- mxModel("ADE_Cholesky2",

mxModel("ADE",

# Matrices a, d, and e to store a, d, and e path coefficients

mxMatrix( type="Lower", nrow=nvar, ncol=nvar, free=TRUE, values=.4, name="a" ),

mxMatrix( type="Lower", nrow=nvar, ncol=nvar, free=TRUE,values=.4, name="d" ),

mxMatrix( type="Lower", nrow=nvar, ncol=nvar, free=TRUE, values=.4, name="e" ),

# Matrices A, D, and E compute variance components

mxAlgebra( a %*% t(a), name="A" ),

mxAlgebra( d %*% t(d), name="D" ),

mxAlgebra( e %*% t(e), name="E" ),

# Algebra to compute total variances and standard deviations (diagonal only)

mxAlgebra( A+D+E, name="V" ),

mxMatrix( type="Iden", nrow=nvar, ncol=nvar, name="I"),

mxAlgebra( solve(sqrt(I*V)), name="iSD"),

# Matrix & Algebra for expected means vector

mxMatrix( type="Full", nrow=1, ncol=nvar, free=TRUE, values= 3.6, name="Mean" ),

mxAlgebra( cbind(Mean,Mean, Mean, Mean, Mean, Mean), name="expMean"),

# Adapted from Neale's univ script: Declare a matrix for the definition variable regression parameters, called beta

mxMatrix( type="Full", nrow=1, ncol=1, free=TRUE, values= 0, label=c("betaSex"), name="beta"),

# Algebra for expected variance/covariance matrix in MZ

mxAlgebra( rbind ( cbind(A+D+E , A+D),

cbind(A+D , A+D+E)), name="expCovMZ" ),

# Algebra for expected variance/covariance matrix in DZ

mxAlgebra( rbind ( cbind(A+D+E , 0.5%x%A+0.25%x%D),

cbind(0.5%x%A+0.25%x%D, A+D+E)), name="expCovDZ" ),

# From Neale univ.: Algebra for making the means a function of the definition variable sex

mxModel("MZ", mxData( observed=mzData, type="raw" ),

mxMatrix( type="Full", nrow=1, ncol=2, free=F, label=c("data.ASEX","data.BSEX"), name="MZDefVars"),

mxAlgebra( expression=ADE.expMean + ADE.beta %*% MZDefVars, name="expMeanMZ"),

mxFIMLObjective( covariance="ADE.expCovMZ", means="expMeanMZ", dimnames=selVars ) ),

mxModel("DZ", mxData( observed=dzData, type="raw" ),

mxMatrix( type="Full", nrow=1, ncol=2, free=F, label=c("data.ASEX","data.BSEX"), name="DZDefVars"),

mxAlgebra( expression=ADE.expMean + ADE.beta %*% DZDefVars, name="expMeanDZ"),

mxFIMLObjective( covariance="ADE.expCovDZ", means="expMeanDZ", dimnames=selVars ) ),

),

mxModel("MZ",

mxData( observed=mzData, type="raw" ),

mxFIMLObjective( covariance="ADE.expCovMZ", means="ADE.expMean", dimnames=selVars )

),

mxModel("DZ",

mxData( observed=dzData, type="raw" ),

mxFIMLObjective( covariance="ADE.expCovDZ", means="ADE.expMean", dimnames=selVars )

),

mxAlgebra( MZ.objective + DZ.objective, name="modelfit" ),

mxAlgebraObjective("modelfit")

)

ADE_Cholesky2_Fit <- mxRun(ADE_Cholesky2_Model)

ADE_Cholesky2_Summ <- summary(ADE_Cholesky2_Fit)

ADE_Cholesky2_Summ

that error nearly always means a trailing ","

in this case it is

mxFIMLObjective( covariance="ADE.expCovDZ", means="expMeanDZ", dimnames=selVars ) ),

),

delete the comma and your model enters fine.

But you also seem to have duplicated groups for MZ and DZ: Once inside modelADE and once inside ADE_Cholesky2

I have deleted the comma and tried to keep the groups for MZ and DZ either inside modelADE or inside the ADE_Cholesky2. Either way I still get error messages. Below you see my atttempt to write the script connecting the MZ and DZ groups within the modelADE. This produces the following error message:

Running ADE_Cholesky2

Error: Trying to evaluate 'MZ.expMeanMZ' in model 'ADE_Cholesky2' generated the error message: non-conformable arrays

I have attached an example data file - SO happy if you could help me out and make this script work.

nvar <- 3 # number of variables

tnvar <- 6 # number of variables*max family size

nlower <-tnvar*(tnvar+1)/2 # number of free elements in a lower matrix tnvar*tnvar

Vars <- c('Mex','Fex','Tex')

selVars <- paste("T",c(rep(1,nvar),rep(2,nvar)),Vars,sep="")

print(selVars)

mzData <- data.frame(subset(Exmv_data, Zyg==1, c(T1Mex, T1Fex, T1Tex, T2Mex, T2Fex, T2Tex, T1sex,T2sex)))

dzData <- data.frame(subset(Exmv_data, Zyg==2, c(T1Mex, T1Fex, T1Tex, T2Mex, T2Fex, T2Tex, T1sex,T2sex)))

ADE_Cholesky2_Model <- mxModel("ADE_Cholesky2",

mxModel("ADE",

# Matrices a, d, and e to store a, d, and e path coefficients

mxMatrix( type="Lower", nrow=nvar, ncol=nvar, free=TRUE, values=.4, name="a" ),

mxMatrix( type="Lower", nrow=nvar, ncol=nvar, free=TRUE,values=.4, name="d" ),

mxMatrix( type="Lower", nrow=nvar, ncol=nvar, free=TRUE, values=.4, name="e" ),

# Matrices A, D, and E compute variance components

mxAlgebra( a %*% t(a), name="A" ),

mxAlgebra( d %*% t(d), name="D" ),

mxAlgebra( e %*% t(e), name="E" ),

# Algebra to compute total variances and standard deviations (diagonal only)

mxAlgebra( A+D+E, name="V" ),

mxMatrix( type="Iden", nrow=nvar, ncol=nvar, name="I"),

mxAlgebra( solve(sqrt(I*V)), name="iSD"),

# Matrix & Algebra for expected means vector

mxMatrix( type="Full", nrow=1, ncol=nvar, free=TRUE, values= 3.6, name="Mean" ),

mxAlgebra( cbind(Mean,Mean, Mean), name="expMean"),

# From univariate script: Declare a matrix for the definition variable regression parameters, called beta

mxMatrix( type="Full", nrow=1, ncol=1, free=TRUE, values= 0, label=c("betaSex"), name="beta"),

# Algebra for expected variance/covariance matrix in MZ

mxAlgebra( rbind ( cbind(A+D+E , A+D),

cbind(A+D , A+D+E)), name="expCovMZ" ),

# Algebra for expected variance/covariance matrix in DZ

mxAlgebra( rbind ( cbind(A+D+E , 0.5%x%A+0.25%x%D),

cbind(0.5%x%A+0.25%x%D, A+D+E)), name="expCovDZ" ),

# Algebra for making the means a function of the definition variable sex

mxModel("MZ", mxData( observed=mzData, type="raw" ),

mxMatrix( type="Full", nrow=1, ncol=2, free=F, label=c("data.T1sex","data.T1sex"), name="MZDefVars"),

mxAlgebra( expression=ADE.expMean + ADE.beta %*% MZDefVars, name="expMeanMZ"),

mxFIMLObjective( covariance="ADE.expCovMZ", means="expMeanMZ", dimnames=selVars )

),

mxModel("DZ", mxData( observed=dzData, type="raw" ),

mxMatrix( type="Full", nrow=1, ncol=2, free=F, label=c("data.T1sex","data.T1sex"), name="DZDefVars"),

mxAlgebra( expression=ADE.expMean + ADE.beta %*% DZDefVars, name="expMeanDZ"),

mxFIMLObjective( covariance="ADE.expCovDZ", means="expMeanDZ", dimnames=selVars ))

),

mxAlgebra( MZ.objective + DZ.objective, name="modelfit" ),

mxAlgebraObjective("modelfit")

)

ADE_Cholesky2_Fit <- mxRun(ADE_Cholesky2_Model)

ADE_Cholesky2_Summ <- summary(ADE_Cholesky2_Fit)

ADE_Cholesky2_Summ

Hi

There are quite a few issues with the script that stop it from working. Most of these center on the lack of agreement between the dimensions of matrices that you are trying to add or multiply. I note that beta is still a 1x1 matrix but there are three observed variables here and they probably need different beta weights. So if beta was nrow=1 and ncol=nvar it would be a start, but then in the expMean statement you would need something like ADE.beta * MZDefVars, or alternatively just make MZDefVars 1x1 and use MZDefVars %*% ADE.beta

One of the problems here is the shortage of information about why an algebra is not conformable. That is something OpenMx should improve. Another is that the scripting style makes it difficult to check things out 'along the way'. So if, for example, you were to construct mxMatrices before the mxModel, you could inspect them and make sure they are the right dimensions for computing the algebras.

Another thing that can really help is to use a pencil & paper and write out the matrix formulae you are trying to evaluate using notation of the form iAj %*% jBk where i and j are the number of rows and columns in A. In this case the matrices are conformable for matrix multiplication because the number of cols in A is the same as the number of rows in B.

Thanks both for valuable hints! In my struggle to get the matrixes into compatible sizes, I have a question concerning the sex variable. Sex can vary between twins in the DOS group. Thus, I cannot use Twin 1 sex as the only basis for setting the sex variable for each pair, nor for each individual in a pair (unlike an AGE variable, e.g.). Am I right in assuming that I will need a means matrix with 6 means (3 variables, and 2 twins), something like a nrow=ntwin and ncol=nvar matrix? And equally with the ADE.beta matrix? Or do I need separate matrixes for each twin in each zygosity group?

With a binary variable such as sex, it is reasonably easy to use it directly as a dummy indicator variable, assuming that it's coded 0/1. You are right that you would want a 1x6 mean vector at the end, so it might be obtained by:

u %x% mu + defsex %x% sexbetas

where defsex is 1x2 containing data.sex1 and data.sex2, and sexbetas is a 1x3 matrix. mu is for the population means, and u is a 1x2 unit vector to replicate mu for twin 1 and twin 2.

If the variance components are allowed to vary according to sex, I might be tempted to go for a 6 mxModel set up - one "holdall" model that sets up the matrices etc, and 5 mxModels within it which fit the data from each of the 5 zygosity groups. Thus it will be possible to allow for a variety of sex-limitation models. An alternative might be to use the sex definition variables to adjust the ACE or ADE parameters according to sex. This might turn out to be more succinct (only need one data group if you work with zygosity coded 1 or .5 in a similar fashion). However, what I have outlined is more likely consistent with, e.g., Boulder 2010 workshop examples.

Comment deleted, redefined as new thread.

Hi again! What you say at the end of your last reply seems to be connected to an earlier discussion in the general SEM forum: http://openmx.psyc.virginia.edu/thread/250

Please help me check out if I have understood your answers:

So far, what I believe I have been trying to do has been what Bates in the earlier discussion calls alternative 1. I am not sure if I can find an example script at the Boulder 2010 workshop that applies to alternative 1, but adding sex as a covariate is what you have been helping me to do so far in the present discussion. Altough the script with your suggested additions semed to run well in the univariate case, I am not sure if it included the dizygotic opposite sex group correctly (I would appreciate your advice on this). I am still working on adapting the covariate script to the multivariate ADE case. I find it hard to know whether the resulting script is Ok, and I would be extremely happy if someone would be willing to share a well tested multivariate script with sex as covariate to validiate mine up against.

Alternative 2, running the ACE/ADE models with raw data residualized for sex, is equivalent to alternative 1, is that right? This is very simple in that one could run analyses, univariate as well as multivariate, with residualized dependent variables, and no other changes would need to be made in the no covariates scripts. I have tried to save residualized variables for two twins and three informants into a new data file in R, following this procedure:

T1Mres <- lm(T1M ~ ASEX, na.action = na.exclude)

T2Mres <- lm(T2M ~ BSEX, na.action = na.exclude)

T1Fres <- lm(T1F ~ ASEX, na.action = na.exclude)

T2Fres <- lm(T2F ~ BSEX, na.action = na.exclude)

T1Tres <- lm(T1T ~ ASEX, na.action = na.exclude)

T2Tres <- lm(T2T ~ BSEX, na.action = na.exclude)

T1Mresid <- residuals(T1Mres)

T2Mresid <- residuals(T2Mres)

T1Fresid <- residuals(T1Fres)

T2Fresid <- residuals(T2Fres)

T1Tresid <- residuals(T1Tres)

T2Tresid <- residuals(T2Tres)

frame1 <- data.frame(T1Mresid=T1Mresid, T2Mresid=T2Mresid,T1Fresid=T1Fresid, T2Fresid=T2Fresid,T1Tresid=T1Tresid, T2Tresid=T2Tresid,ZYG=ZYG, ZYGsex=ZYGsex)

write.table(x=frame1, file="MFTresiduals.DAT",

quote=FALSE,sep='\t',na='-1.000',row.names=FALSE)

ResidMFT <- read.table("MFTresidualS.DAT",header=TRUE, na.strings="-1.000")

summary (ResidMFT)

names (ResidMFT)

I read from the Neale/Bates discussion that there is a problem with missing data in the sex variable with this procedure. I really do not get the conclusion of that discussion, though. Thus, my question conserning alternative 2 is: given that alternative 2 seems to be such an easy way out, is there any reason why I should drop this and prefer to go through the (for me)complicated scripting in alternative 1?

The alternative with 6 mxModels that you suggest in your latest reply, allowing the variance components to vary according to sex, would that be a sex as a moderator model? That is, alternative 3 as mentioned in your discussion with Bates? Then, would it be a good idea to use the univariate heterogeneity script provided at the Boulder 2010 workshops site as a starting point for alternative 3? Are you aware of any example script that covers the alternative you mention here in the multivariate case?

Sorry about the length of this comment, but I need to get this right.

One critical thing with residualising, is that all subjects need to be residualised together, otherwise you are applying different residualisation functions to different groups. You don't want to do the different kinds of twin (either birth order or zygosity) separately.

So do the residualisation while the data are in long format (one row per person), then move to a wide format (one family per row). ?reshape can help with this.

Also, not sure from the snippet, but it looks like you are residualizing each sex separately ? If so, that definitely won't do what you want: You need both sexes in the data for residualization by sex to be valid (I'm interpreting things like "T1M" as "twin 1Male")

Thank you for important points. T1M means Twin 1 rated by Mother, så any sex can be represented in that variable.

Here's some help in debugging a MxAlgebra error. The argument 'compute=TRUE' will instruct mxEval() to attempt to perform the algebra operations. The default behavior of mxEval() is to simply return the current value stored in the algebra. The argument 'show=TRUE' will instruct mxEval() to print out what it is evaluating. You can see below that ADE.expMean is a 1 x 9 matrix, ADE.beta is 1 x 1 matrix, and MZ.MZDefVars is a 1 x 2 matrix.

Thanks! I have tried to build the above explanaition into my script, but I don't seem to be able to work it out from the point that I stand right now.

I am working on a tutorial script from an OpenMx course, and in the data preparation script the following procedure is written like this:

#No Age or sex data available, thus I'll simulate it

Age <- rnorm(n=length(IQ1),mean=30,sd=4)

hist(Age)

IQ1.Age <-lm(IQ1~Age)

summary(IQ1.Age)

#Note: If there is a significant effect, save residuals to use in OpenMx

IQ1.res <- IQ1.Age$residuals

hist(IQ1.res)

Now, I do have age and sex data in my data file.

I know there are significant sex effects on the IQ1 and IQ2 scores. How do I use the IQ1.res variable into the saturated script for testing differences in means and variances across twins and zygosity groups? And can I utilize the same IQ1.res variable as a covariate in the univariate ACE script?

Um, with continuous data one can go either way - i) regress out the covariates first, or ii) specify them in the model. However, it is redundant to do both.

Under i) one would want to use IQ1.res as the observed variable, and don't add age as a covariate (sex perhaps yes).

Under ii) one would skip the lm() piece and just put IQ in the ACE model as observed variable and have age/sex as covariates

If one is interested in judging the statistical significance of the effects of the covariates, it is necessary to use some GEE type of correction to account for correlated observations if using lm() [I am not expert at doing this because I use the ML approach, i.e., ii) instead which corrects for the non-independence of twin1 and twin2 observations by treating the pair as a single data vector]

I'm not sure I follow your question, though.

Once again, thank you! I see where I was confused. I have now managed to run alternative i) according to the script you suggested, it worked just fine.

Dear All,

I have been trying to run a univariate ACE model, using OpenMx, in which I would like to have age and sex as covariates. I have used “UnivariateTwinAnalysis_MatrixRaw-3” script, and I changed it a little to fit my own data. (both scripts and data are attached). There is no error and the script is working well, but the beta for both age and sex are non-sense. The outputs are like:

1 aa XX 1 1 0.08062441 3.177188e-02

2 cc YY 1 1 -0.04613104 5.783706e-02

3 ee ZZ 1 1 -0.07737747 7.225128e-03

4 mean expMean 1 1 0.66396822 1.638469e-02

5 betaAge beta 1 1 0.10000000 1.078024e+22

6 betaSex beta 1 2 0.10000000 1.078024e+22

The Beta of 0.1 is not changed at all, with any kind of change you apply to your input data. Could anybody tell me please what the problem of my script or my data is? I have only used same-sex MZ and DZ, but I do not think if that might be the source of error in estimating sex-beta.

Thank you in advance,

Amir

The next binary release will report the following error for this script,

The optimizer did not get access to the definition variables, because they were labeled as "mzData.ageT1mz" whereas they should have been labeled as data.ageT1mz - the data. tag is critical for OpenMx to realize that you mean a definition variable. Hence your parameter estimates were stuck at their initial values.

Err, this smells like a bug. At least it should have complained if it didn't recognize "mzData.ageT1mz". I'll look into this.

This was expected behavior IMO. mzData.blah is a legal parameter label, just like any other (except it has a . in it which is unusual but not illegal afaik) so the optimizer took it to be a parameter label (fixed as it happens) not a definition variable. Possibly, there is a design flaw; if we want to reject parameter labels that have a . in them, except those that are correctly referencing definition variables, then I guess an error could be thrown and a suitable error message provided: Aha! It looks like you were trying to reference a definition variable because your parameter label has a '.' in it. However, the bit before the '.' doesn't say 'data' or the bit after it doesn't reference a variable in the data frame supplied to the mxData() function call. So please use another label without a '.' in it if you want an ordinary parameter label, or correct the bits before and after the '.' so that they reference a definition variable. Or just go down the pub and have a drink to drown your sorrows...

No, we had agreed that "." is a reserved character and can only be used in specific contexts. The following are all legal uses of the dot character:

Apparently we have an error condition that is falling through the cracks, when the "." is used and is neither a valid definition variable nor a valid matrix (row,col) reference.

Thank you very much dear Mike and Michael

Now my script is working. The problem was that the name of the age column in the MZ group (and DZ) was “age1” not “ageT1mz”, so it did not know what “ageT1mz” is. I think it uses the “header” of the input data, not the ones allocated later.

Thank you again for your help.

Regards,

Amir

Two comments:

`names(dzData)`

to determine the column names of a data frame. The definition variables need to match up with the column names.Thank you again dear Michael. Yes, you are right. My script worked when it was "data.age1" not the "mzData.age1". I appreciate your help again. Regards, Amir