New calls for collaboration
Send us an email if you want your proposal reported in our next issue.
Twin research: on the origin of healthy food consumption and physical activity
A consortium of international twin studies is being set up by Maurice Zeegers, Evangelia Antoniou and Elena Tore at Maastricht University (The Netherlands). Their aim is to analyze the origins of healthy food consumption and physical activity. More specifically, they would like to disentangle the genetic and environmental factors that influence these two behaviors associated with many chronic diseases. Moreover, they want to find out which specific gene(s) might influence healthy eating and physical activity, by undertaking two separate GWAS.
They are looking for any twin studies and registries which collected information on dietary intake, physical activity and possibly whole genotype data in adult twins. Five large twin registries (Washington State Twin Registry, Keio Twin Registry, TwinsUK, EFPTS and Murcia Twin Registry) are already onboard, with a total of over 30,600 twins. If you are able to contribute or want to know more, please contact Elena by email or access the consortium's website here.
DNA methylation and the etiology of the VACTERL association
Last year, Iris van Rooij and Romy van de Putte (Radboud university Medical Center, The Netherlands) started a new project focusing on the causes of the VACTERL association, a combination of at least 3 of the following birth defects: Vertebral, Anorectal, Cardiac, Tracheo-esophageal, Renal and Limb anomalies. They are interested in whether DNA methylation plays a role in the etiology of the VACTERL association. DNA methylation is a mechanism by which you can “turn off” genes so that they are not expressed anymore.
They are searching for monozygotic twin pairs discordant for VACTERL to participate in this study. However, monozygotic twin pairs in which both twins are affected, but not with the same VACTERL anomalies, can also participate. They require a blood sample and a buccal swab (cells from cheek) from both the affected and unaffected twins, and whenever possible, a blood sample from both parents. If you can contribute to this study or want to know more, please contact Romy van de Putte by email.
Genetic and environmental influences on aesthetic judgment
Giacomo Bignardi (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands) is looking for twin data on aesthetic judgment for an undergraduate level project under the supervision of Tinca Polderman. The aims of the study are (1) to explore the genetic and/or environmental influences on people’s aesthetic preferences in different domains and (2) investigate potential differences between the different domains regarding etiological influences (example: visual art vs. music taste preferences.
They are looking for (1) MZ and DZ data about Aesthetic ratings of visual images (dynamic or static, a.k.a. movies or paintings) or music, (2) data about ratings of perceived taste, aroma or flavor. If not enough data are available they will also look for (3) twin cohorts that would be interested in including a survey on aesthetic preferences in future data collections. If you can contribute to this study or want to know more, please email Giacomo by email.