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The CODATwins Project: The Cohort Description of Collaborative Project of Development of Anthropometrical Measures in Twins to Study Macro-Environmental Variation in Genetic and Environmental Effects on Anthropometric Traits

  • Karri Silventoinen (a1) (a2), Aline Jelenkovic (a1) (a3), Reijo Sund (a1), Chika Honda (a2), Sari Aaltonen (a1) (a4), Yoshie Yokoyama (a5), Adam D. Tarnoki (a6), David L. Tarnoki (a6), Feng Ning (a7), Fuling Ji (a7), Zengchang Pang (a7), Juan R. Ordoñana (a8) (a9), Juan F. Sánchez-Romera (a9) (a10), Lucia Colodro-Conde (a8) (a11), S. Alexandra Burt (a12), Kelly L. Klump (a12), Sarah E. Medland (a11), Grant W. Montgomery (a11), Christian Kandler (a13), Tom A. McAdams (a14), Thalia C. Eley (a14), Alice M. Gregory (a15), Kimberly J. Saudino (a16), Lise Dubois (a17), Michel Boivin (a18), Claire M. A. Haworth (a19), Robert Plomin (a14), Sevgi Y. Öncel (a20), Fazil Aliev (a21) (a22), Maria A. Stazi (a23), Corrado Fagnani (a23), Cristina D’Ippolito (a23), Jeffrey M. Craig (a24) (a25), Richard Saffery (a24) (a25), Sisira H. Siribaddana (a26) (a27), Matthew Hotopf (a28), Athula Sumathipala (a26) (a29), Timothy Spector (a30), Massimo Mangino (a30), Genevieve Lachance (a30), Margaret Gatz (a31), David A. Butler (a32), Gombojav Bayasgalan (a33), Danshiitsoodol Narandalai (a33) (a34), Duarte L. Freitas (a35), José Antonio Maia (a36), K. Paige Harden (a37), Elliot M. Tucker-Drob (a37), Kaare Christensen (a38) (a39), Axel Skytthe (a38), Kirsten O. Kyvik (a40) (a41), Changhee Hong (a42), Youngsook Chong (a42), Catherine A. Derom (a43), Robert F. Vlietinck (a43), Ruth J. F. Loos (a44), Wendy Cozen (a45) (a46), Amie E. Hwang (a45), Thomas M. Mack (a45) (a46), Mingguang He (a47) (a48), Xiaohu Ding (a47), Billy Chang (a47), Judy L. Silberg (a49), Lindon J. Eaves (a49), Hermine H. Maes (a50), Tessa L. Cutler (a51), John L. Hopper (a51) (a52), Kelly Aujard (a53), Patrik K. E. Magnusson (a54), Nancy L. Pedersen (a54), Anna K. Dahl Aslan (a54) (a55), Yun-Mi Song (a56), Sarah Yang (a52) (a57), Kayoung Lee (a58), Laura A. Baker (a31), Catherine Tuvblad (a31) (a59), Morten Bjerregaard-Andersen (a60) (a61) (a62), Henning Beck-Nielsen (a62), Morten Sodemann (a63), Kauko Heikkilä (a4), Qihua Tan (a64), Dongfeng Zhang (a65), Gary E. Swan (a66), Ruth Krasnow (a67), Kerry L. Jang (a68), Ariel Knafo-Noam (a69), David Mankuta (a70), Lior Abramson (a69), Paul Lichtenstein (a54), Robert F. Krueger (a71), Matt McGue (a71), Shandell Pahlen (a71), Per Tynelius (a72), Glen E. Duncan (a73), Dedra Buchwald (a73), Robin P. Corley (a74), Brooke M. Huibregtse (a74), Tracy L. Nelson (a75), Keith E. Whitfield (a76), Carol E. Franz (a77), William S. Kremen (a77) (a78), Michael J. Lyons (a79), Syuichi Ooki (a80), Ingunn Brandt (a81), Thomas Sevenius Nilsen (a81), Fujio Inui (a2) (a82), Mikio Watanabe (a2), Meike Bartels (a83), Toos C. E. M. van Beijsterveldt (a83), Jane Wardle (a84), Clare H. Llewellyn (a84), Abigail Fisher (a84), Esther Rebato (a3), Nicholas G. Martin (a11), Yoshinori Iwatani (a2), Kazuo Hayakawa (a2), Finn Rasmussen (a72), Joohon Sung (a52) (a57), Jennifer R. Harris (a81), Gonneke Willemsen (a83), Andreas Busjahn (a85), Jack H. Goldberg (a86), Dorret I. Boomsma (a83), Yoon-Mi Hur (a87), Thorkild I. A. Sørensen (a88) (a89) (a90) and Jaakko Kaprio (a4) (a91) (a92)...


For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.


Corresponding author

address for correspondence: Karri Silventoinen, Population Research Unit, Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 18, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland. E-mail:


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