Conventional and 24-hour ambulatory blood pressures were measured in 26 pairs of monozygotic twins and 27 pairs of dizygotic twins, all male, ages 18 to 38 years, to determine the heritability of blood pressure measured under various conditions. Conventional pressure was the average of three well-standardized measurements in the supine position, and ambulatory pressure was recorded during the subjects' normal activities by use of the SpaceLabs 90202 device. Heritability was assessed by classic methods and by model fitting and path analysis. In the latter approach, the percent genetic variance was 70% for mean 24-hour systolic pressure and 73% for diastolic pressure, which was similar to the results for the conventional pressures (64% and 73%, respectively). During the night, these estimates were 72% and 51% for systolic and diastolic pressures, respectively, and also the average pressures of the total awake daytime period were under partial genetic control (63% and 55%, respectively). The remaining variances could be attributed primarily to unique environmental influences. However, shared and nonshared environmental factors were predominant for the pressures during a fixed 6-hour afternoon period. We conclude that the heritability of blood pressure is relatively high in young adult healthy men, for standardized conventional pressure and the average 24-hour pressure. Genetic variance is somewhat higher for the asleep pressure than for the awake systolic pressure.