INTRODUCTION: The Danish Twin Registry (DTR) has for more than 50 years been based on surveys and clinical investigations and over the two last decades also on register linkage. Currently these two approaches are merged within Statistics Denmark. RESEARCH TOPICS: Here we report on three major groups of register-based research in the DTR that used the uniqueness of twinning.
Twin Research: The Official Journal of the International Society for Twin Studies
Non-linear epigenetic processes are a potential underlying source of phenotypic differences in development. Simulation studies of twin pairs using simple non-linear development models characterised by chaotic or near-chaotic behavior are presented. The effect of chaotic processes on correlations is to lower them from their initial values, but high initial correlations are affected much less by chaotic and near-chaotic processes than intermediate correlations.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines
BACKGROUND: Genotype x environment interaction (G x E) arises when genes influence sensitivity to the environment. G x E is easily recognized in experimental organisms that permit randomization of genotypes over fixed environmental treatments. Genotype-environment correlation (rGE) arises when genetic effects create or evoke exposure to environmental differences.
Human monozygotic twins and other genetically identical organisms are almost always strikingly similar in appearance, yet they are often discordant for important phenotypes including complex diseases. Such variation among organisms with virtually identical chromosomal DNA sequences has largely been attributed to the effects of environment.
Classical twin research focused on differentiating genetic factors from environmental factors by comparing the concordance rate between monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic twins. On the other hand, recent twin research tries to identify genetic or epigenetic differences between MZ twins discordant for mental disorders. There are a number of reports of MZ twins discordant for genetic disorders caused by genetic or epigenetic differences of known pathogenic genes.
Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry
AIM: Little is known about the concordance rate in twins for dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). The rate of agreement between clinical and pathological diagnoses for DLB is typically low, necessitating confirmation of the diagnosis neuropathologically. METHODS: Participants were 17 twin pairs enrolled in the Duke Twins Study of Memory in Aging in which at least one member of the pair had an autopsy confirmed diagnosis of DLB, Alzheimer's disease (AD) with Lewy bodies or frontotemporal dementia with Lewy bodies.
American Journal of Medical Genetics. Part B, Neuropsychiatric Genetics: The Official Publication of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics
Although members of monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs are identical in genomic sequence, epigenetic mechanisms may occasion difference in gene expression and, consequently, twin discordance in complex traits. Recent work suggests that the epigenetic process of X-inactivation in female individuals may impact on intelligence and child behavioral problems. The timing of X-inactivation has been linked to chorionic splitting in MZ twins. Dichorionic monozygotic (DC-MZ) twinning, unlike monochorionic monozygotic (MC-MZ) twinning, occurs prior to the time of X-inactivation in female organisms.
Studies of schizophrenia inheritance in identical twins show a concordance of about 50%, which supports an epigenetic model. In our present study we investigated methylation of genomic DNA and promoter methylation of Reelin and SOX10 genes in peripheral blood of twins suffering from schizophrenia. Global DNA methylation was reduced (52.3%) in schizophrenic twins if compared with healthy control twins (65.7%). The reduced methylation was significant in males only. We also found a similar hypomethylation in the non-affected twins of discordant pairs and a mixed group of psychiatric controls.
Individuals with fast nicotine metabolism typically smoke more and thus have a greater risk for smoking-induced diseases. Further, the efficacy of smoking cessation pharmacotherapy is dependent on the rate of nicotine metabolism. Our objective was to use nicotine metabolite ratio (NMR), an established biomarker of nicotine metabolism rate, in a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify novel genetic variants influencing nicotine metabolism. A heritability estimate of 0.81 (95% CI 0.70-0.88) was obtained for NMR using monozygotic and dizygotic twins of the FinnTwin cohort.
Twin Research and Human Genetics: The Official Journal of the International Society for Twin Studies
There has been almost no overlap between behavior genetics and consumer behavior research, despite each field's importance in understanding society. In particular, both have neglected to study genetic influences on consumer adoption and usage of new technologies -- even technologies as important as the mobile phone, now used by 5.8 out of 7.0 billion people on earth. To start filling this gap, we analyzed self-reported mobile phone use, intelligence, and personality traits in two samples of Australian teenaged twins (mean ages 14.2 and 15.6 years), totaling 1,036 individuals.