To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Illicit substance use is dangerous in both acute and chronic forms, frequently resulting in lethal poisoning, addiction, and other negative consequences. Similar to research in other psychiatric conditions, whose ultimate goal is to enable effective prevention and treatment, studies in substance use are focused on factors elevating the risk for the disorder. The rapid growth of the substance use problem despite the effort invested in fighting it, however, suggests the need in changing the research approach. Instead of attempting to identify risk factors, whose neutralization is often infeasible if not impossible, it may be more promising to systematically reverse the perspective to the factors enhancing the aspect of liability to disorder that shares the same dimension but is opposite to risk, that is, resistance to substance use. Resistance factors, which enable the majority of the population to remain unaffected despite the ubiquity of psychoactive substances, may be more amenable to translation. While the resistance aspect of liability is symmetric to risk, the resistance approach requires substantial changes in sampling (high-resistance rather than high-risk) and using quantitative indices of liability. This article provides an overview and a practical approach to research in resistance to substance use/addiction, currently implemented in a NIH-funded project. The project benefits from unique opportunities afforded by the data originating from two longitudinal twin studies, the Virginia Twin Study of Adolescent and Behavioral Development and the Minnesota Twin Family Study. The methodology described is also applicable to other psychiatric disorders.
The Mid-Atlantic Twin Registry (MATR) is a population-based registry of more than 60,000 twins primarily born or living in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Researchers may utilize the MATR for administration of research services, including study recruitment, data or sample (e.g., DNA) collection, archival dataset creation, as well as data collection through mailed, phone or online surveys. In addition, the MATR houses the MATR Repository, with over 1700 DNA samples primarily from whole blood available for researchers interested in DNA genotyping. For over 40 years MATR twins have participated in research studies with investigators from a range of scientific disciplines and institutions. These studies, which have resulted in numerous publications, explored diverse topics, including substance use, smoking behaviors, developmental psychopathology, bullying, children’s health, cardiovascular disease, cancer, the human microbiome, epigenetics of aging, children of twins and sleep homeostasis. Researchers interested in utilizing twins are encouraged to contact the MATR to discuss potential research opportunities.
The genetic and social causes of individual differences in attitudes to gun control are estimated in a sample of senior male and female twin pairs in the United States. Genetic and environmental parameters were estimated by weighted least squares applied to polychoric correlations for monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins of both sexes. The analysis suggests twin similarity for attitudes to gun control in men is entirely genetic while that in women is purely social. Although the volunteer sample is small, the analysis illustrates how the well-tested concepts and methods of genetic epidemiology may be a fertile resource for deepening our scientific understanding of biological and social pathways that affect individual risk to gun violence.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
The public health burden of alcohol is unevenly distributed across the life course, with levels of use, abuse, and dependence increasing across adolescence and peaking in early adulthood. Here, we leverage this temporal patterning to search for common genetic variants predicting developmental trajectories of alcohol consumption. Comparable psychiatric evaluations measuring alcohol consumption were collected in three longitudinal community samples (N = 2,126, obs = 12,166). Consumption-repeated measurements spanning adolescence and early adulthood were analyzed using linear mixed models, estimating individual consumption trajectories, which were then tested for association with Illumina 660W-Quad genotype data (866,099 SNPs after imputation and QC). Association results were combined across samples using standard meta-analysis methods. Four meta-analysis associations satisfied our pre-determined genome-wide significance criterion (FDR < 0.1) and six others met our ‘suggestive’ criterion (FDR <0.2). Genome-wide significant associations were highly biological plausible, including associations within GABA transporter 1, SLC6A1 (solute carrier family 6, member 1), and exonic hits in LOC100129340 (mitofusin-1-like). Pathway analyses elaborated single marker results, indicating significant enriched associations to intuitive biological mechanisms, including neurotransmission, xenobiotic pharmacodynamics, and nuclear hormone receptors (NHR). These findings underscore the value of combining longitudinal behavioral data and genome-wide genotype information in order to study developmental patterns and improve statistical power in genomic studies.
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.
Objective: Despite an increasing recognition that psychiatric disorders can be diagnosed as early as preschool, little is known how early genetic and environmental risk factors contribute to the development of psychiatric disorders during this very early period of development. Method: We assessed infant temperament at age 1, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), and separation anxiety disorder (SAD) at ages 3 through 5 years in a sample of Hispanic twins. Genetic, shared, and non-shared environmental effects were estimated for each temperamental construct and psychiatric disorder using the statistical program MX. Multivariate genetic models were fitted to determine whether the same or different sets of genes and environments account for the co-occurrence between early temperament and preschool psychiatric disorders. Results: Additive genetic factors accounted for 61% of the variance in ADHD, 21% in ODD, and 28% in SAD. Shared environmental factors accounted for 34% of the variance in ODD and 15% of SAD. The genetic influence on difficult temperament was significantly associated with preschool ADHD, SAD, and ODD. The association between ODD and SAD was due to both genetic and family environmental factors. The temperamental trait of resistance to control was entirely accounted for by the shared family environment. Conclusions: There are different genetic and family environmental pathways between infant temperament and psychiatric diagnoses in this sample of Puerto Rican preschool age children.
Little is known regarding the underlying relationship between smoking initiation and current quantity smoked during adolescence into young adulthood. It is possible that the influences of genetic and environmental factors on this relationship vary across sex and age. To investigate this further, the current study applied a common causal contingency model to data from a Virginia-based twin study to determine: (1) if the same genetic and environmental factors are contributing to smoking initiation and current quantity smoked; (2) whether the magnitude of genetic and environmental factor contributions are the same across adolescence and young adulthood; and (3) if qualitative and quantitative differences in the sources of variance between males and females exist. Study results found no qualitative or quantitative sex differences in the relationship between smoking initiation and current quantity smoked, though relative contributions of genetic and environmental factors changed across adolescence and young adulthood. More specifically, smoking initiation and current quantity smoked remain separate constructs until young adulthood, when liabilities are correlated. Smoking initiation is explained by genetic, shared, and unique environmental factors in early adolescence and by genetic and unique environmental factors in young adulthood; while current quantity smoked is explained by shared environmental and unique environmental factors until young adulthood, when genetic and unique environmental factors play a larger role.
The importance of including developmental and environmental measures in genetic studies of human pathology is widely acknowledged, but few empirical studies have been published. Barriers include the need for longitudinal studies that cover relevant developmental stages and for samples large enough to deal with the challenge of testing gene–environment–development interaction. A solution to some of these problems is to bring together existing data sets that have the necessary characteristics. As part of the National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded Gene-Environment-Development Initiative, our goal is to identify exactly which genes, which environments, and which developmental transitions together predict the development of drug use and misuse. Four data sets were used of which common characteristics include (1) general population samples, including males and females; (2) repeated measures across adolescence and young adulthood; (3) assessment of nicotine, alcohol, and cannabis use and addiction; (4) measures of family and environmental risk; and (5) consent for genotyping DNA from blood or saliva. After quality controls, 2,962 individuals provided over 15,000 total observations. In the first gene–environment analyses, of alcohol misuse and stressful life events, some significant gene–environment and gene–development effects were identified. We conclude that in some circumstances, already collected data sets can be combined for gene–environment and gene–development analyses. This greatly reduces the cost and time needed for this type of research. However, care must be taken to ensure careful matching across studies and variables.
The Mid-Atlantic Twin Registry (MATR) is a population-based registry of more than 56,000 twins primarily born or living in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The MATR employs several methods of ascertaining twins, and devotes considerable resources to tracking and maintaining communication with MATR participants. Researchers may utilize the MATR for administration of research services including study recruitment, collection of DNA, archival data set creation, as well as data collection through mailed, phone, or online surveys. In addition, the MATR houses the MATR Repository, with over 1,200 blood samples available for researchers interested in DNA genotyping. For over 35 years MATR twins have participated in research studies with investigators from diverse scientific disciplines and various institutions. These studies, which have resulted in numerous publications, have covered a range of topics, including the human microbiome, developmental psychopathology, depression, anxiety, substance use, epigenetics of aging, children of twins, pre-term birth, social attitudes, seizures, eating disorders, as well as sleep homeostasis. Researchers interested in utilizing twins are encouraged to contact the MATR to discuss potential research opportunities.
Considerable evidence from twin and adoption studies indicates that both genetic and shared environmental factors play a substantial role in the liability to antisocial behavior. Although twin and adoption designs can resolve genetic and environmental influences, they do not provide information about assortative mating, parent–offspring transmission, or the contribution of these factors to trait variation. We examined the role of genetic and environmental factors for conduct disorder (CD) using a twin–parent design. This design allows the simultaneous estimation of additive genetic, shared and individual-specific environmental effects, as well as sex differences in the expression of genes and environment in the presence of assortative mating and combined genetic and cultural transmission. A retrospective measure of CD was obtained from twins and their parents or guardians in the Virginia Twin Study of Adolescent Behavior Development and its Young Adult Follow up sample. Both genetic and environmental factors play a significant role in the liability to CD. Major influences on individual differences appeared to be additive genetic (38%–40%) and unique environmental (39%–42%) effects, with smaller contributions from the shared environment (18%–23%), assortative mating (~2%), cultural transmission (~2%) and resulting genotype-environment covariance. This study showed significant heritability, which is slightly increased by assortative mating, and significant effects of primarily nonparental shared environment on CD.
Several studies report apparent sibling contrast effects in analyses of twin resemblance. In the presence of genetic differences, contrast effects reduce the dizygotic (DZ) twin correlation relative to that in monozygotic (MZ) twins and produce higher DZ than MZ variance. Explanations of contrast effects are typically cast in terms of direct social interaction between twins or an artifact of the process of rating children by their parents. We outline a model for sibling imitation and contrast effects that depends on social interaction between parents and children. In addition to predicting the observed pattern of twin variances and covariances, the parental mediation of child imitation and contrast effects leads to differences in the variance of parents of MZ and DZ twins and differences between the correlations of parents with their MZ and DZ children.
Three dimensions of temperament — difficult temperament, unadaptablility and unsociability — were assessed in the first year of life by maternal interview in twins born in Puerto Rico during 2001 and 2002. Eight hundred and sixty-five eligible mothers (80%) were traced and interviewed. Model- fitting results showed that additive genetic factors and the individual specific environment contributed to variation in all three dimensions. In addition, the pattern of variances and correlations suggested that sibling contrast effects influence ratings of difficult temperament. Moderate effects of the shared environment contributed to ratings of adaptability and sociability. There was a significant genetic correlation between difficult temperament and unadaptability. Genetic and environmental effects do not differ significantly between boys and girls. The study is the first population-based study of Puerto Rican twins and one of few to attempt the assessment of behavior in the first year. Preliminary results for difficult temperament and sociability were consistent with those in other populations and ages. In contrast, a significant effect of the shared environment on the temperamental trait of unadaptability has not been reported previously.
The children of twins (COT) design has been proposed as an alternative to the adoption study to resolve the direct effects of parental treatment from secondary parent–child association due to genetic factors. The basic analytical approach compares the parent–offspring correlation with the correlation between children and the monozygotic (MZ) twins of their parents. We show that a significant difference between these correlations does not imply direct environmental causality when the measured parental treatment in question is dyadic, that is, influenced by both parents even when mating is random. Nongenetic causal effects yield very similar patterns of correlation to secondary genetic effects on dyadic treatment variables. The fact that many candidate environments, such as parental divorce, are dyadic gives reason to question the interpretation of their correlations with behavior in the children of twins.
Longitudinal, genetically informed, prospective data collected on a large population of male twins (n=1037) were used to examine developmental differences in the etiology of antisocial behavior.
Analyses were carried out on both mother- and child-reported symptoms of conduct disorder (CD) in 10- to 17-year-old twins from the Virginia Twin Study of Adolescent Behavioral Development (VTSABD) and self-reported antisocial behavior by the twins as young adults from the Young Adult Follow-Up (YAFU) study.
The following trends were identified: (1) a single genetic factor influencing antisocial behavior beginning at age 10 through young adulthood (‘life-course persistent’); (2) a shared-environmental effect beginning in adolescence (‘adolescent-onset’); (3) a transient genetic effect at puberty; and (4) a genetic influence specific to adult antisocial behavior.
Overall, these etiological findings are consistent with predictions from Moffitt's developmental theory of antisocial behavior. The genetic effect at puberty at ages 12–15 is also consistent with a genetically mediated influence on the timing of puberty affecting the expression of genetic differences in antisocial outcomes.
The phenotypic and genetic interrelationships underlying ADHD symptomatology assessed by various instruments were examined on a sample of 735 male and 819 female same-sex twin pairs, aged 8 to 16 years, participating in the first phase of the Virginia Twin Study of Adolescent Behavioral Development (VTSABD). Multivariate analyses were applied to parental and teacher ratings from an investigator-based interview, the CAPA, and three questionnaires (the CBCL and the Rutter Parent and Teacher Scales). Results from patterns of intercorrelations and factor analyses of maternal measures suggested that at the phenotypic level, these assessed the same underlying behavioural construct, which differed from other emotional and behavioural constructs. However, genetic analyses showed that in addition to a common factor underlying the expression of ADHD as assessed across the range of measures, additional genetic factors were identified that were method- and rater-specific. The findings suggest that although the investigator-based interview and the behavioural checklists tap similar aspects of ADHD behaviour, there is additional rater-specific variance.
In this report we characterize associations between parental psychiatric disorders and children's psychiatric symptoms and disorders using a population-based sample of 850 twin families. Juvenile twins are aged 8–17 years and are personally interviewed about their current history of DSM-III-R conduct, depression, oppositional-defiant, overanxious, and separation anxiety disorders using the CAPA-C. Mothers and fathers of twins are personally interviewed about their lifetime history of DSM-III-R alcoholism, antisocial personality disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, major depression, panic disorder/agoraphobia, social phobia, and simple phobia using a modified version of the SCID and the DIS. Generalized least squares and logistic regression are used to identify the juvenile symptoms and disorders that are significantly associated with parental psychiatric histories. The specificity of these associations is subsequently explored in a subset of families with maternal plus parental psychiatric histories with a prevalence > 1 %. Parental depression that is not comorbid or associated with a different spousal disorder is associated with a significantly elevated level of depression and overanxious disorder symptoms and a significantly increased risk for overanxious disorder. Risks are higher for both symptomatic domains in association with maternal than paternal depression, and highest in association with maternal plus paternal depression. Risks for other juvenile symptoms and disorders index the comorbid and spousal histories with which parental depression is commonly associated. Paternal alcoholism that is not comorbid or associated with a maternal disorder is not significantly associated with current psychiatric symptoms or disorders in offspring. Risks for oppositional-defiant or conduct symptoms/disorders in the offspring of alcoholic parents index parental comorbidity and/or other spousal histories.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.