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The Keio Twin Research Center (KoTReC) was established in 2009 at Keio University to combine two longitudinal cohort projects — the Keio Twin Study (KTS) for adolescence and adulthood and the Tokyo Twin Cohort Project (ToTCoP) for infancy and childhood. KoTReC also conducted a two-time panel study of self-control and psychopathology in twin adolescence in 2012 and 2013 and three independent anonymous cross-sectional twin surveys (ToTcross) before 2012 — the ToTCross, the Junior and Senior High School Survey and the High School Survey. This article introduces the recent research designs of KoTReC and its publications.
The Keio Twin Research Center has conducted two longitudinal twin cohort projects and has collected three independent and anonymous twin data sets for studies of phenotypes related to psychological, socio-economic, and mental health factors. The Keio Twin Study has examined adolescent and adult cohorts, with a total of over 2,400 pairs of twins and their parents. DNA samples are available for approximately 600 of these twin pairs. The Tokyo Twin Cohort Project has followed a total of 1,600 twin pairs from infancy to early childhood. The large-scale cross-sectional twin study (CROSS) has collected data from over 4,000 twin pairs, from 3 to 26 years of age, and from two high school twin cohorts containing a total of 1,000 pairs of twins. These data sets of anonymous twin studies have mainly targeted academic performance, attitude, and social environment. The present article introduces the research designs and major findings of our center, such as genetic structures of cognitive abilities, personality traits, and academic performances, developmental effects of genes and environment on attitude, socio-cognitive ability and parenting, genes x environment interaction on attitude and conduct problem, and statistical methodological challenges and so on. We discuss the challenges in conducting twin research in Japan.
Sex differences in mental rotation ability have been observed in many countries. A previous study of Finnish participants reported that genetic and environmental influences on mental rotation ability differ between sexes. In this study, we assessed genetic and environmental influences on variance in mental rotation ability in 649 Japanese twins using a mental rotation test. To explain the influence of sex on variance in mental rotation ability, we applied genetic analysis using the sex limitation model. The following two factors explained variance in mental rotation ability: (1) the additive genetic factor, which reflects the accumulated small influence of many genes, and (2) the unique environmental factor, which is a type of environmental factor that differs between co-twins. The shared environmental factor, a type of environmental factor common for co-twins, could not explain the variance in mental rotation ability. Furthermore, the additive genetic factor was the same between sexes (i.e., not qualitative sex differences for the additive genetic factor), indicating that the same genes affect mental rotation ability in both sexes. Despite this observation, the additive genetic influence was greater in males than in females. In contrast, the unique environmental influence was not different between sexes. Considering the current results and those of a previous study, the quantitative sex difference for the additive genetic influences in mental rotation ability may be universal, while the unique environmental differences may depend on the characteristics of specific populations.
The Tokyo Twin Cohort Project (ToTCoP) is a large-scale longitudinal study of 5 years based on 1619 pairs of infant twins reared together. The purpose of the study is to construct a population-based twin registry in Japan and to investigate human growth and development and twin themselves. It covers behavioral, neurological, physical and environmental variables measured by questionnaire, home visiting and brain imaging technology. The full registry contains over 47,000 multiple births collected from the Basic Resident Register, and the targeted population is 3070 probable twins of 0 to 2 years old. Preliminary analysis of the entry questionnaire data showed no serious sampling biases. Descriptive statistics of parental characteristics (parental age, gestation age, parity and placentation, maternal weight, parenting stress) and children's characteristics (body size at birth, 4 and 10 months of age, milk consumption, and sleeping and social behavior) and their correlations, genetic and environmental contributions and correlations are reported.
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