The Young Netherlands Twin Register (YNTR): Longitudinal Twin and Family Studies in Over 70,000 Children

Department of Biological Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Twin Research and Human Genetics (Impact Factor: 2.3). 11/2012; 16(1):1-16. DOI: 10.1017/thg.2012.118
Source: PubMed


The Netherlands Twin Register (NTR) began in 1987 with data collection in twins and their families, including families with newborn twins and triplets. Twenty-five years later, the NTR has collected at least one survey for 70,784 children, born after 1985. For the majority of twins, longitudinal data collection has been done by age-specific surveys. Shortly after giving birth, mothers receive a first survey with items on pregnancy and birth. At age 2, a survey on growth and achievement of milestones is sent. At ages 3, 7, 9/10, and 12 parents and teachers receive a series of surveys that are targeted at the development of emotional and behavior problems. From age 14 years onward, adolescent twins and their siblings report on their behavior problems, health, and lifestyle. When the twins are 18 years and older, parents are also invited to take part in survey studies. In sub-groups of different ages, in-depth phenotyping was done for IQ, electroencephalography , MRI, growth, hormones, neuropsychological assessments, and cardiovascular measures. DNA and biological samples have also been collected and large numbers of twin pairs and parents have been genotyped for zygosity by either micro-satellites or sets of short nucleotide polymorphisms and repeat polymorphisms in candidate genes. Subject recruitment and data collection is still ongoing and the longitudinal database is growing. Data collection by record linkage in the Netherlands is beginning and we expect these combined longitudinal data to provide increased insights into the genetic etiology of development of mental and physical health in children and adolescents.

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Available from: Meike Bartels, Jan 19, 2014
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    • "development of the children is sent to the parents of the twins every 2 years until the twins are 12 years old (Boomsma et al. 2002, 2006; van Beijsterveldt et al. 2013). Since 1999, at approximately age 7, 9 and 12, when the twins attend primary school, parents are asked for their consent to approach the teacher(s) of their children with a survey. "
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    ABSTRACT: One criterion for a diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-IV) diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is that symptoms are present in at least two settings, and often teacher ratings are taken into account. The short Conners’ Teacher Rating Scales—Revised (CTRS-R) is a widely used standardized instrument measuring ODD and ADHD behavior in a school setting. In the current study CTRS-R data were available for 7, 9 and 12-year-old twins from the Netherlands Twin Register. Measurement invariance (MI) across student gender and teacher gender was established for three of the four scales (Oppositional Behavior, Hyperactivity and ADHD Index) of the CTRS-R. The fourth scale (ATT) showed an unacceptable model fit even without constraints on the data and revision of this scale is recommended. Gene-environment (GxE) interaction models revealed that heritability was larger for children sharing a classroom. There were some gender differences in the heritability of ODD and ADHD behavior and there was a moderating effect of teacher’s gender at some of the ages. Taken together, this indicates that there was evidence for GxE interaction for classroom sharing, gender of the student and gender of the teacher. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10519-015-9712-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
    Behavior Genetics 02/2015; 45(4). DOI:10.1007/s10519-015-9712-z · 3.21 Impact Factor
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    • "In the current study, three forms of perfectionism were distinguished, on the basis of the MPS: global perfectionism (sum score of all subscales except organization), healthy perfectionism (comprised of personal standards and organization ) and unhealthy perfectionism (comprised of concern over mistakes, parental expectations, parental criticism and doubt about actions; Stumpf & Parker, 2000). A life events scale from the longitudinal survey studies of the Young Netherlands Twin Register (Van Beijsterveldt et al., 2013) was used. This scale consists of 13 items and was derived from other existing scales (Van der Velden, Van der Burg, Steinmetz , & Van den Bout, 1992; Middeldorp, Cath, Vink, & Boomsma, 2005; Kaprio, Pulkkinen, & Rose, 2002) to assess stressful life events. "
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    ABSTRACT: The stress response is regulated by the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) and the glucocorticoid receptor (GR). When the balance between GR and MR signalling is disturbed, one's capacity to cope with a stressful event is diminished. In this pilot study, we tested the hypothesis that an interaction between common variants in the MR (rs5522) or GR gene (rs41423247) and stressful life events influences perfectionism levels in a group of patients with an eating disorder (ED; n = 113). Patients carrying the minor G allele of rs5522 had a higher perfectionism score if more stressful life events were experienced [β = 0.95, t(109) = 3.75, p < 0.01]. This effect was not found for patients carrying the AA genotype. These results suggest that rs5522 G allele carriers might be vulnerable to stressful life events. When patients with an ED are carriers and experience multiple life events, this might fuel their insecurity, which in turn may engender higher levels of perfectionism. Further studies are necessary to replicate and expand our findings. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.
    European Eating Disorders Review 11/2014; 22(6). DOI:10.1002/erv.2319 · 2.46 Impact Factor
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    • "Participants were registered as newborns with the Netherlands Twin Registry (NTR), which was established by the Department of Biological Psychology at the VU University in Amsterdam. In 2005, the NTR started to collect data on behavior, well-being, lifestyle, and health in adolescent twins and their non-twin siblings (Bartels et al., 2007; Boomsma et al., 2006, Van Beijsterveldt et al., 2013). During adolescence, 14-, 16-, and 18-year-old twins and their non-twin siblings (aged 12 to 25 years) received an online or a paper and pencil self-report survey upon written parental consent. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study assessed to what extent genetic and environmental factors contributed to individual differences in adolescent sleep duration, and whether genetic and environmental contributions to sleep duration changed throughout adolescence. A twin-family design was used to gain insight into the genetic and environmental contributions to variation in sleep duration. The study sample consisted of 6,319 adolescent twins (44% males) and 1,359 non-twin siblings (44% males) in the age range of 12 to 20 years (mean age = 16.85, SD = 1.40). The participants self-reported usual sleep duration, which was categorized as less than 8 hours per night, 8-9 hours per night, and more than 9 hours per night. Results showed that the prevalence of shorter than optimum sleep duration, that is, less than 8 hours per night, was high, with the highest prevalence rates in later adolescence. The contribution of genetic and environmental factors to individual differences in sleep duration was dependent on age. Variation in sleep duration at the age of 12 years was accounted for by genetic (boys: 34%, girls: 36%), shared environmental (boys: 28%, girls: 45%), and non-shared environmental factors (boys: 38%, girls: 19%). At the age of 20 years, the role of genetic (boys: 47%, girls: 33%) and non-shared environmental factors (boys: 53%, girls: 67%) was more pronounced. It can be concluded from the results that individual differences in sleep duration were accounted for by genetic and non-shared environmental factors throughout adolescence, whereas shared environmental factors account for a substantial part of variation during early adolescence only.
    Twin Research and Human Genetics 11/2013; 16(6):1-11. DOI:10.1017/thg.2013.74 · 2.30 Impact Factor
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