Worldwide Twins Newsletter - Issue 10
International Network of Twin Registries
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Worldwide Twins is the communication platform of the International Network of Twin Registries (INTR), which aims to foster scientific collaboration and promote twin research on a global scale.

The INTR is a working group of the International Society for Twin Studies (ISTS).

In this issue

We bring you new calls for international collaborations, including twin studies on menarcheal age and its genetic/environmental impacts, and Mendelian randomization and trait variability analyses in twins. Our Research Highlights session presents recently established twin registries and studies, such as the Brazilian Twin Registry and the German TwinLife Study. We also bring you recent publications in twin research from Early-Career Researchers and report on an exciting course within VU Amsterdam. Enjoy the read!

New calls for collaboration
Send us an email if you want your proposal reported in our next issue.


The Menarcheal Age and Gene-environment Impacts (MAGI) Study: an INTR Collaboration

Seung-Ah Choe (CHA Medical School, South Korea) and Joohon Sung (Seoul National University, South Korea) would like to invite new collaborators to their twin study named Menarcheal Age and Gene-environment Impacts (MAGI). The aims of this study are 1) to understand how the age at menarche (AAM) is changing over time and across the different populations, and 2) to identify the determinants of this change with particular emphasis on genetic and environmental factors. 3) to estimate and predict health consequences related with the global changes in AAM.

The study involves so far the participation of the Healthy Twin Study (South Korea), Australian Twin Registry (Australia), California Twin Program (USA) and Hungarian Twin Registry (Hungary). If you have relevant twin data regarding age at menarche to share for this study or want to know more, please contact Seung-Ah Choe by email.

Mendelian randomization and trait variability analyses using twins

George Davey Smith (University of Bristol, UK) and colleagues are recruiting samples for a collaborative effort with the following aims: 1) Estimating the causal relationship between phenotypes using DZ twins or siblings. Method: A within-family Mendelian randomization design that is immune to confounding by demography. 2) Identify genetic loci that influence phenotypic variability. Method: A GWAS meta-analysis on the phenotypic difference between MZ twins. 

Data requirements: Genome-wide SNP data on MZ or DZ twins (only one MZ per pair is necessary) and any of the following phenotypes: body mass index, blood pressure and/or diagnosed hypertension as a categorical variable, height, IQ. Statistical power is a key limitation to both analyses so we are looking to recruit as many cohorts as possible to participate in these meta-analyses. Please fill in this form to join the collaboration, or contact George Davey Smith by email for further information.

Research highlights
This session includes recent publications on new twin registries and studies.


The Brazilian Twin Registry

The recently established Brazilian Twin Registry has published its first protocol paper. The twin registry focuses on musculoskeletal research but has been also collecting other lifestyle baseline data on adult twins. It is formed by a collaboration between Brazilian and Australian universities,  with support from the Australian Twin Registry. Read the article here.

The German Twin Life Study

The German TwinLife Study aims to understand the development of social inequalities over the life course. The paper discusses its theoretical and empirical backgrounds, and the design, content and implementation of the study, which will make its data available for future research. Read the article here.

Early-Career Research highlights

This session includes recent publications from Early-Career Researchers in twin research.
Send us an email if you are an ECR and want your lead authored article reported in our next issue.


The Impact of Gender on Anthropometric Measures of Twins

A twin study authored by Shayesteh Jahanfar (Central Michigan University, USA) and a colleague involved 2,184 twin pairs born in Canada to investigate how gender may impact anthropometric measures such as birth weight, length, and head circumference. Read the article here.

Genetic factors contribute more to hip than knee surgery due to osteoarthritis – a population-based twin registry study of joint arthroplasty

Karin Magnusson (Diakonhjemmet Hospital, Norway, and Lund University, Sweden) and colleagues explored and quantified the relative strengths of the genetic contribution vs the contribution of modifiable environmental factors to severe osteoarthritis (OA) in 9,058 Norwegian twin pairs. You can read the full article here.

Courses & Workshops

Send us an email if you want your course reported in our next issue.


Nature & Nurture: Twin Research and Human Genetics

Twins have always been a subject of great scientific interest. In the Summer of 2017, continue the study of twin genetics in our course. The VU Amsterdam Summer School is open for applications! Explore Amsterdam and the Netherlands with a unique group of friends, while studying a topic you love. This is an interdisciplinary course where you will explore the interaction between genes and environment and what determines behaviour, lifestyle, and health.
The course is taught by scientists that work closely with the world-renowned Netherlands Twin Register at VU Amsterdam. They will train you in studying twin data, as well as information from genomics and epigenetics. The course will also cover both the theoretical and philosophical background that comes with genetic research. This will help increase your understanding of complex human genetics and accompanying traits.

For more information, follow the links to the VU Amsterdam Summer School and the course web pages. 

Job opportunities
Send us an email if you want your job opening reported in our next issue.

This newsletter issue was edited by Lucas Ferreira (University of Melbourne).
Please contact us if you want to know more. Thanks for reading and see you soon!
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