Twin Research (Twin Res )

Publisher: International Society for Twin Studies, Australian Academic Press


Twin Research covers the broad spectrum of disciplines inherent in the wide field of multiple birth research. Key topics include: human genetics obstetrics and gynaecology neonatology epidemiology psychology methodology paediatrics and child psychology adult psychology and psychiatry sociology of twins and their families statistics.

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Australian Academic Press

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Publications in this journal

  • Twin Research 01/2005; 7(6):677-9.
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    ABSTRACT: A loss of function mutation in growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF9) in sheep causes increased ovulation rate and infertility in a dosage-sensitive manner. Spontaneous dizygotic (DZ) twinning in the human is under genetic control and women with a history of DZ twinning have an increased incidence of multiple follicle growth and multiple ovulation. We sequenced the GDF9 coding region in DNA samples from 20 women with DZ twins and identified a four-base pair deletion in GDF9 in two sisters with twins from one family. We screened a further 429 families and did not find the loss of function mutation in any other families. We genotyped eight single nucleotide polymorphisms across the GDF9 locus in 379 families with two sisters who have both given birth to spontaneous DZ twins (1527 individuals) and 226 triad families with mothers of twins and their parents (723 individuals). Using case control analysis and the transmission disequilibrium test we found no evidence for association between common variants in GDF9 and twinning in the families. We conclude that rare mutations in GDF9 may influence twinning, but twinning frequency is not associated with common variation in GDF9.
    Twin Research 01/2005; 7(6):548-55.
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    ABSTRACT: The relative stability and magnitude of genetic and environmental effects underlying major dimensions of adolescent personality across time were investigated. The Junior Eysenck Personality Questionnaire was administered to over 540 twin pairs at ages 12, 14 and 16 years. Their personality scores were analyzed using genetic simplex modeling which explicitly took into account the longitudinal nature of the data. With the exception of the dimension lie, multivariate model fitting results revealed that familial aggregation was entirely explained by additive genetic effects. Results from simplex model fitting suggest that large proportions of the additive genetic variance observed at ages 14 and 16 years could be explained by genetic effects present at the age of 12 years. There was also evidence for smaller but significant genetic innovations at 14 and 16 years of age for male and female neuroticism, at 14 years for male extraversion, at 14 and 16 years for female psychoticism, and at 14 years for male psychoticism.
    Twin Research 01/2005; 7(6):637-48.
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    ABSTRACT: Reports of fatigue preceding cardiac events have recently been confirmed by large prospective studies. To assess for genetic confounding, we investigated prolonged fatigue and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in a cohort of World War II veteran twins. We examined data from a questionnaire mailed to members of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council (NAS-NRC) World War II Twins Registry in 1998 and 1999 which included questions on demographics, medical conditions and symptoms of fatigue. Data from twins discordant for prolonged fatigue lasting a month or more were analyzed using conditional logistic regression. Among 1955 twin pairs, 157 monozygotic and 174 dizygotic pairs (mean age 74 years) were discordant for prolonged fatigue. An association was found between prolonged fatigue and a history of myocardial infarction or coronary artery surgery adjusting for age, socioeconomic status, smoking, alcohol use and depression (OR [Odds Ratio]: 2.2; 95% CI: 1.3-4.0). When analyses were performed separately by zygosity, the association was slightly larger for monozygotic (OR: 3.3; 95% CI: 1.2-9.1) than dizygotic twins (OR: 1.9; 95% CI: 0.9-4.0). These data corroborate the association of fatigue with CVD and suggest that it is not influenced by a common genetic factor. Further studies are needed to clarify the relationship and to better understand the biologic mechanisms.
    Twin Research 01/2005; 7(6):571-7.
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    ABSTRACT: Mothers of multiples who choose to feed their infants breast milk are faced with a seemingly overwhelming set of circumstances. Since mothers of multiples could potentially feed their infants differing proportions of breast milk, current methods of obtaining breastfeeding data for mothers of singletons may not adequately describe the breastfeeding behaviors of mothers of twins and triplets. The goal of our study was to determine the proportion of breast milk each infant of a multiple set was fed over a six-month period and compare the feeding regimens of sibling infants. Results of this retrospective study based on maternal reports indicated that there was almost complete agreement in the proportion of breast milk fed to siblings born from the same pregnancy, regardless of stratification based on gestational age, plurality, or location of the infants (hospital vs. home). The Pearson correlation coefficient for duration of breast-milk feeding between sibling twins was 0.99 (p < .0001); among sibling triplets the values were .97, .98 and .99 (p < .0001). A better understanding of the process by which twins and triplets are fed breast milk sets the stage for future research and can ultimately lead to the development of strategies to increase breast-milk feeding rates for multiple birth children.
    Twin Research 01/2005; 7(6):542-7.
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    ABSTRACT: In humans, in contrast to animals, the genetic influences on infidelity are unclear. We report here a large study of over 1600 unselected United Kingdom female twin pairs who confidentially reported previous episodes of infidelity and total lifetime number of sexual partners, as well as attitudes towards infidelity. Our findings demonstrate that infidelity and number of sexual partners are both under moderate genetic influence (41% and 38% heritable, respectively) and the genetic correlation between these two traits is strong (47%). Conversely, attitudes towards infidelity are driven by shared and unique environmental, but not genetic, influences. A genome-wide linkage scan identified three suggestive but nonsignificant linkage areas associated with infidelity and number of sexual partners on chromosomes 3, 7 and 20 with a maximum LOD score of 2.46. We were unsuccessful in associating infidelity or number of sexual partners with a locus implicated in other mammals' sexual behavior, the vasopressin receptor gene. Nonetheless, our findings on the heritability of sexual infidelity and number of sexual partners provide support for certain evolutionary theories of human sexual behavior, as well as justifying further genetic and molecular research in this domain.
    Twin Research 01/2005; 7(6):649-58.
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    ABSTRACT: There is now considerable evidence that host genetic factors are important in determining the outcome of infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB). The aim of this study was to assess the role of several candidate genes in the variation observed in the immune responses to MTB antigens. In-vitro assays of T-cell proliferation, an in-vivo intradermal delayed hypersensitivity response; cytokine and antibody secretions to several mycobacterial peptide antigens were assessed in healthy, but exposed, West African twins. Candidate gene polymorphisms were typed in the NRAMP1, Vitamin D receptor, IL10, IL4, IL4 receptor and CTLA-4 genes. Variants of the loci IL10 (-1082 G/A), CTLA-4 (49 A/G) and the IL4 receptor (128 A/G) showed significant associations with immune responses to several antigens. T-cell proliferative responses and antibody responses were reduced, TNF-alpha responses were increased for subjects with the CTLA-4 G allele. The T-cell proliferative responses of subjects with IL10 GA and GG genotypes differed significantly. IL4 receptor AG and GG genotypes also showed significant differences in their T-cell proliferative responses to MTB antigens. These results yield a greater understanding of the genetic mechanisms that underlie the immune responses in tuberculosis and have implications for the design of therapeutic interventions.
    Twin Research 01/2005; 7(6):578-88.
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    ABSTRACT: This study provides findings to assist in identifying factors that contribute to the current clinical and public health debate of the obesity epidemic. The study examined the genetics of adult-onset weight change in middle-aged male-male twins controlling for weight in early adulthood, lifetime history of tobacco use and alcohol dependence, and aimed to estimate the proportion of genetic factors that influence weight change between early adulthood and middle age in white middle-class males. The study was a classic longitudinal twin design and used Body Mass Index (BMI) for three waves of data collection from the Vietnam Era Twin Registry--induction physicals (approximately 1968), 1987 and 1990--or periods corresponding between young adulthood and middle age. Univariate heritability estimates for BMI at all three data periods were conducted as well as a Cholesky longitudinal genetic analysis for weight change controlling for BMI at military induction, smoking and alcohol use. Frequency data indicated that the sample was on average classified as normal BMI in their 20s; but BMI gradually increased during the next twenty years. Univariate data for each data period indicated that additive genetic factors accounted for between 63% and 69% of total variance in BMI. The Cholesky longitudinal genetic analysis of BMI87 and BMI90, controlling for BMI at military induction, indicated that more than half of the change in BMI from early adulthood to middle age remains heritable. No shared environmental factors were identified, thus the remainder of the variance was accounted for by nonshared, or unique, environmental factors and error. The data analysis suggests that treatments and public health interventions need to recognize the magnitude of genetic factors if short-term and long-term interventions are to be effective.
    Twin Research 01/2005; 7(6):596-602.
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    ABSTRACT: This paper examines why parents of twins or adult twins themselves request zygosity testing. Of 405 multiples including 8 sets of triplets, the majority (93%) were monozygotic. Age of testing ranged from 0 days to 73 years. About 50% of requests came from parents or twins who were curious about, or expressed a need to be certain of, their zygosity. Other reasons included health concerns (current or future), other twins in the family, and misinformation about zygosity, frequently because of the erroneous assumption that all dichorionic twins are dizygotic. Parents of monozygotic twins may expect their twins to be 'identical' and believe their twins to be dizygotic because of minor phenotypic differences between them. Dizygotic twins like other siblings may share a phenotypic resemblance. Health professionals should be aware that zygosity of multiples may not always be obvious to parents and that accurate knowledge of zygosity may be justified.
    Twin Research 11/2004; 7(5):406-11.