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In studies of singletons, a range of early-life characteristics have been reported to be associated with handedness, but some of these associations have failed to replicate. We examined associations between 23 early life characteristics with handedness in a large sample of 37,495 5-year-old twins. We considered three definitions of handedness: left-handedness (LH), mixed-handedness (MH), and non-right-handedness (NRH). Our main aim was to test whether the associations with sex, birth weight, gestational age, and season of birth — as reported in singletons — replicate in twins, and to examine twin-specific variables, including zygosity, chorionicity, birth order, and intertwin delivery time. Compared to previously published data from adults born as singletons (7.23%), the prevalence of NRH was higher in both twins (16.19%) and their parents (15.09%). In the twins, LH and NRH were associated with parents’ LH. Male sex and lower gestational age were associated with NRH, and LH was associated with not being breastfed. MH was related to neurodevelopmental delays and higher externalizing problems later in childhood. Other previously reported associations were not replicated, and no twin-specific characteristics were related to handedness. These results emphasize the importance of considering multiple definitions of handedness and indicate a small number of replicated associations across studies.
The recruitment of participants for research studies may be subject to bias. The Prospective Imaging Study of Ageing (PISA) aims to characterize the phenotype and natural history of healthy adult Australians at high future risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Participants approached to take part in PISA were selected from existing cohort studies with available genomewide genetic data for both successfully and unsuccessfully recruited participants, allowing us to investigate the genetic contribution to voluntary recruitment, including the genetic predisposition to AD. We use a polygenic risk score (PRS) approach to test to what extent the genetic risk for AD, and related risk factors predict participation in PISA. We did not identify a significant association of genetic risk for AD with study participation, but we did identify significant associations with PRS for key causal risk factors for AD, IQ, household income and years of education. We also found that older and female participants were more likely to take part in the study. Our findings highlight the importance of considering bias in key risk factors for AD in the recruitment of individuals for cohort studies.
Monozygotic twins (MZT) are 2.5 times more frequent in ART than in natural conceptions. A number of ART-related mechanisms have been probably linked with MZT. Studies that retrospectively analyze the time-lapse (TL) records resulting in MZT suggest that some morphokinetic traits of the inner cell mass and the trophectoderm could be predictors of MZT, but results are controversial. We present the complete TL record of one case of MZT that split itself at the very moment of the division into two cells, with one of the cells coming out through a hole in the zona pellucida (ZP). Both resulting embryos developed normally, and were vitrified. It is suggested that the hole in the ZP may facilitate the extrusion of some cells of the <day 4 embryo and that this cell development is not constrained by being inside the ZP. Despite the lack of the inhibition of the ZP itself or the influence of the other embryo cells, the totipotent cell was then able to develop correctly from the start. Moreover, the embryo inside the ZP compensated for the loss of this cell apparently without problems. Our findings are discussed in the context of previous literature and ethical problems are addressed.
Almost all creatinine is excreted by the kidney in individuals. Serum creatinine concentration, a widely used renal function index in clinical practice, can be affected by both genetic and environmental factors, as evidenced by current research exploring the relationship between these factors and kidney function. However, few studies have explored the heritability of serum creatinine in Asian populations. Therefore, we explored the genetic and environmental factors that affect the serum creatinine level in Asian populations. Participants in this study came from the Qingdao Twin Registry in China, and 374 pairs of twins were included, of which 139 pairs were dizygotic twins, whose ages ranged from 40 to 80 years old, and the serum creatinine level ranged from 10 to 126 μmol/L. Structural equation models were constructed using Mx software to calculate heritability, with adjusted covariates being age, sex, and body mass index. The results of heritability analysis showed that ACE was the best fit model. Serum creatinine level is influenced by genetic and environmental factors. The result of heritability was 35.44%, and the influence of shared environmental factors accounted for 52.13%. This study provided the relevant basis for future research on genetic and environmental factors affecting serum creatinine levels in Asian populations.
Aging plays a crucial role in the mechanisms of the impacts of genetic and environmental factors on blood pressure and serum lipids. However, to our knowledge, how the influence of genetic and environmental factors on the correlation between blood pressure and serum lipids changes with age remains to be determined. In this study, data from the Chinese National Twin Registry (CNTR) were used. Resting blood pressure, including systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP and DBP), and fasting serum lipids, including total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and triglycerides (TGs) were measured in 2378 participants (1189 twin pairs). Univariate and bivariate structural equation models examined the genetic and environmental influences on blood pressure and serum lipids among three age groups. All phenotypes showed moderate to high heritability (0.37–0.59) and moderate unique environmental variance (0.30–0.44). The heritability of all phenotypes showed a decreasing trend with age. Among all phenotypes, SBP and DBP showed a significant monotonic decreasing trend. For phenotype-phenotype pairs, the phenotypic correlation (Rph) of each pair ranged from −0.04 to 0.23, and the additive genetic correlation (Ra) ranged from 0.00 to 0.36. For TC&SBP, TC&DBP, TG&SBP and TGs&DBP, both the Rph and Ra declined with age, and the Ra difference between the young group and the older adult group is statistically significant (p < .05). The unique environmental correlation (Re) of each pair did not follow any pattern with age and remained relatively stable with age. In summary, we observed that the heritability of blood pressure was affected by age. Moreover, blood pressure and serum lipids shared common genetic backgrounds, and age had an impact on the phenotypic correlation and genetic correlations.
Preeclampsia (PE) is a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy. PE patients were reported to have higher serum levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) than those in healthy controls. However, whether the expressions of these inflammation biomarkers have a causal relationship with PE is unspecified. We applied the Mendelian randomization method to infer the causal relationship between inflammation biomarkers (e.g., CRP, IL-6, interleukin 1 receptor antagonist [IL-1ra] and TNF-α) and PE. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) strongly related to inflammation biomarkers were used as instrumental variables. CRP, IL-1ra and IL-6 levels showed no significant effect on PE progression, while the genetic predicted higher level of TNF-α significantly increased the risk of PE (OR per 1-SD increase in TNF-α: 4.33; 95% CI [1.99, 9.39]; p = .00021). The findings suggest that pro-inflammatory activity of TNF-α could be a determinant for PE progression. More antenatal care should be given to those pregnant women with higher level of inflammation biomarkers, especially TNF-α.
Assisted reproductive technology is a crucial factor that increases the incidence of monozygotic twinning in humans. This article discusses the impact of various indicators in assisted reproductive technology studies on pregnancy outcomes, especially studies with a large number of clinical cases. Furthermore, three rare cases in multiples pregnancy are discussed: fetus papyraceous of a pair of male monozygotic twins in a set of triplets, two pairs of sesquizygotic twins with sex-discordance, and rare conjoined triplets.
Twins’ memoirs and autobiographies both enlighten and entertain. These works, often overlooked by researchers, may suggest new avenues for investigation, such as nonshared environmental events that propel twins in different directions. Of course, MZ twins’ generally parallel experiences and DZ twins generally criss-crossing paths are the bases of fascinating life stories. The following sections examined recent research on fetal reduction in twin pregnancy, twins’ personality and military service, growth restriction in twins, and advances in conjoined twin separation. This article closes with reports of a scientist who performed gene editing on twins, a twin conception from 33-year-old embryos, twins’ physical outcomes from dietary differences, fraternal twins with the world’s largest height difference and the Twin Home Experts who conquer rat infestation in New York.