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Biobanks are a valuable resource for creating advancements in science through cutting-edge omics research. Twin research methods allow us to understand the degree to which genetics and environmental factors contribute to health outcomes.
The Sri Lankan Twin Registry biobank (SLTR-b) was established in 2015 as part of Colombo Twin and Singleton Follow-up Study. Venous blood and urine were collected from twins and comparative sample of singletons for clinical investigations and biobanking.
The SLTR-b currently houses 3369 DNA and serum samples. Biobank specimens are linked to longitudinal questionnaire data, clinical investigations, anthropometric measurements, and other data.
The SLTR-b aims to address gaps in health and genetics research. It will provide opportunities for academic collaborations, local and international, and capacity building of future research leaders in twin and omics research. This paper provides a cohort profile of the SLTR-b and its linked data, and an overview of the strategies used for biobanking.
Adolescent psychotic experiences increase risk for schizophrenia and other severe psychopathology in adulthood. Converging evidence implicates urban and adverse neighborhood conditions in the etiology of adolescent psychotic experiences, but the role of young people's personal perceptions of disorder (i.e., physical and social signs of threat) in their neighborhood is unknown. This was examined using data from the Environmental Risk Longitudinal Twin Study, a nationally representative birth cohort of 2,232 British twins. Participants were interviewed at age 18 about psychotic phenomena and perceptions of disorder in the neighborhood. Multilevel, longitudinal, and genetically sensitive analyses investigated the association between perceptions of neighborhood disorder and adolescent psychotic experiences. Adolescents who perceived higher levels of neighborhood disorder were significantly more likely to have psychotic experiences, even after accounting for objectively/independently measured levels of crime and disorder, neighborhood- and family-level socioeconomic status, family psychiatric history, adolescent substance and mood problems, and childhood psychotic symptoms: odds ratio = 1.62, 95% confidence interval [1.27, 2.05], p < .001. The phenotypic overlap between adolescent psychotic experiences and perceptions of neighborhood disorder was explained by overlapping common environmental influences, rC = .88, 95% confidence interval [0.26, 1.00]. Findings suggest that early psychological interventions to prevent adolescent psychotic experiences should explore the role of young people's (potentially modifiable) perceptions of threatening neighborhood conditions.
Stressful life events (SLEs) are associated with psychotic experiences. SLEs might act as an environmental risk factor, but may also share a genetic propensity with psychotic experiences.
To estimate the extent to which genetic and environmental factors influence the relationship between SLEs and psychotic experiences.
Self- and parent reports from a community-based twin sample (4830 16-year-old pairs) were analysed using structural equation model fitting.
SLEs correlated with positive psychotic experiences (r = 0.12–0.14, all P<0.001). Modest heritability was shown for psychotic experiences (25–57%) and dependent SLEs (32%). Genetic influences explained the majority of the modest covariation between dependent SLEs and paranoia and cognitive disorganisation (bivariate heritabilities 74–86%). The relationship between SLEs and hallucinations and grandiosity was explained by both genetic and common environmental effects.
Further to dependent SLEs being an environmental risk factor, individuals may have an underlying genetic propensity increasing their risk of dependent SLEs and positive psychotic experiences.
The Genesis 12–19 (G1219) Study is an ongoing longitudinal study of a sample of UK twin pairs, non-twin sibling pairs, and their parents. G1219 was initially designed to examine the role of gene–environment interplay in adolescent depression. However, since then data have continued to be collected from both parents and their offspring into young adulthood. This has allowed for longitudinal analyses of depression and has enabled researchers to investigate multiple phenotypes and to ask questions about intermediate mechanisms. The study has primarily focused on emotional development, particularly depression and anxiety, which have been assessed at multiple levels of analysis (symptoms, cognitions, and relevant environmental experiences). G1219 has also included assessment of a broader range of psychological phenotypes ranging from antisocial behaviors and substance use to sleep difficulties, in addition to multiple aspects of the environment. DNA has also been collected. The first wave of data collection began in the year 1999 and the fifth wave of data collection will be complete before the end of 2012. In this article, we describe the sample, data collection, and measures used. We also summarize some of the key findings to date.
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