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The Italian Twin Project: From the Personal Identification Number to a National Twin Registry

  • Maria Antonietta Stazi (a1), Rodolfo Cotichini (a2), Valeria Patriarca (a3), Sonia Brescianini (a4), Corrado Fagnani (a5), Cristina D'Ippolito (a6), Stefania Cannoni (a7), Giovanni Ristori (a8) and Marco Salvetti (a9)...

Abstract

The unique opportunity given by the “fiscal code”, an alphanumeric identification with demographic information on any single person residing in Italy, introduced in 1976 by the Ministry of Finance, allowed a database of all potential Italian twins to be created. This database contains up to now name, surname, date and place of birth and home address of about 1,300,000 “possible twins”. Even thought we estimated an excess of 40% of pseudo-twins, this still is the world's largest twin population ever collected. The database of possible twins is currently used in population-based studies on multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, celiac disease, and type 1 diabetes. A system is currently being developed for linking the database with data from mortality and cancer registries. In 2001, the Italian Government, through the Ministry of Health, financed a broad national research program on twin studies, including the establishment of a national twin registry. Among all the possible twins, a sample of 500,000 individuals are going to be contacted and we expect to enrol around 120,000 real twin pairs in a formal Twin Registry. According to available financial resources, a sub sample of the enrolled population will be asked to donate DNA. A biological bank from twins will be then implemented, guaranteeing information on future etiological questions regarding genetic and modifiable factors for physical impairment and disability, cancers, cardiovascular diseases and other age related chronic illnesses.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: Maria Antonietta Stazi, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena, 299; 00161 Rome, Italy.
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Twin Research and Human Genetics
  • ISSN: 1832-4274
  • EISSN: 1839-2628
  • URL: /core/journals/twin-research-and-human-genetics
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