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The Interplay of Genes and Environment across Multiple Studies (IGEMS) is a consortium of 18 twin studies from 5 different countries (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, United States, and Australia) established to explore the nature of gene–environment (GE) interplay in functioning across the adult lifespan. Fifteen of the studies are longitudinal, with follow-up as long as 59 years after baseline. The combined data from over 76,000 participants aged 14–103 at intake (including over 10,000 monozygotic and over 17,000 dizygotic twin pairs) support two primary research emphases: (1) investigation of models of GE interplay of early life adversity, and social factors at micro and macro environmental levels and with diverse outcomes, including mortality, physical functioning and psychological functioning; and (2) improved understanding of risk and protective factors for dementia by incorporating unmeasured and measured genetic factors with a wide range of exposures measured in young adulthood, midlife and later life.
The Louisville Twin Study (LTS) is nationally recognized as one of the largest and most comprehensive studies of child development related to multiple birth status. The LTS is unique because of the extensive longitudinal face-to-face assessments, the frequency of data collection, the inclusion of data on additional family members (i.e., parents, siblings, grandparents; and later, twins’ own spouses and children), and the variety of data collection methods used. Data preservation efforts began in 2008 and are largely complete, although efforts are ongoing to obtain funding to convert the electronic data to a newer format. A pilot study was completed in the summer of 2018 to bring the twins, who are now middle-aged, back for testing. A grant is currently under review to extend the pilot study to include all former participants who are now ≥40 years of age. Opportunities for collaboration are welcome.
The Interplay of Genes and Environment across Multiple Studies (IGEMS) group is a consortium of eight longitudinal twin studies established to explore the nature of social context effects and gene-environment interplay in late-life functioning. The resulting analysis of the combined data from over 17,500 participants aged 25–102 at baseline (including nearly 2,600 monogygotic and 4,300 dizygotic twin pairs and over 1,700 family members) aims to understand why early life adversity, and social factors such as isolation and loneliness, are associated with diverse outcomes including mortality, physical functioning (health, functional ability), and psychological functioning (well-being, cognition), particularly in later life.
A twin study of infant attachment security at age 24 months was conducted on archival data for a sample of 99 MZ pairs and 108 DZ pairs from the Louisville Twin Study. MZ concordance for attachment was 62.6%, which was significantly greater than the DZ concordance of 44.4%. Concordances were transformed into polychoric correlations, and LISREL was used to conduct a quantitative genetic analysis of the data. Results indicated that 25% of the variability in attachment was attributable to genetic factors, and the remaining 75% was attributable to non-shared environmental effects. No evidence was found for a contribution from shared environmental influences to attachment security. Possible concerns about the validity of twin methodology are addressed and various interpretations of the results are presented. Twin Research (2000) 3, 242–250.