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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 phenotypic and aetiological architecture of depression symptomatology has been mostly studied in Western samples. In this study, we conducted a genetically informed factor analysis to elucidate both the phenotypic and aetiological architectures of self-reported depression among a Japanese adult twin sample.
Depressive symptoms assessed by Zung's Self-rating Depression Scale were self-rated by 425 twin pairs (301 monozygotic and 124 dizygotic twin pairs) in a community sample in Japan.
An exploratory factor analysis extracted three symptom domains representing cognitive, affective and somatic symptomatology. A confirmatory factor analysis demonstrated that a bi-factor solution fitted better than the alternative solutions, implying that depression may be defined as a combination of a single general construct and three factors specific to each of the three symptom domains. A multivariate genetic analysis with the bi-factor solution showed that the general factor was substantially heritable (47%), and that only the affective symptom domain was significantly heritable (29%) among the three specific factors, their remaining variance being explained by non-shared environmental influences.
Depression symptomatology appears to be adequately captured by a substantially heritable general factor. The heritability of this factor (47%) in a Japanese adult sample is in line with commonly reported heritability estimates for depression. The three specific factors – cognitive, affective and somatic – are mostly explained by non-shared environmental factors, which include measurement error. The extent to which these specific factors are uniquely associated with correlates of depression when the general factor is accounted for should be investigated in future studies.
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.
We examined whether effortful control (EC), a temperament proposed by Rothbart and Bates (1998), has genetically coherent structure. A self- report measure of EC was administered to 450 Japanese twins (151 males and 299 females, ages 17 to 32 years) including 152 monozygotic and 73 dizygotic pairs. Univariate genetic analysis revealed that AE model fit best for the total EC as well as its subscales. The heritability estimate for total EC was 49%, and the estimates for subscales ranged between 32% and 45%. Multivariate genetic analysis revealed that the subscales of EC were genetically correlated to a high degree and environmentally correlated to a moderate degree. These results suggest that EC has substantial genetic basis and genetically coherent structure, supporting the validity of the construct. The implications to molecular genetic study and study of psychopathology were discussed.
People differ markedly in their risk for developing posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) after exposure to traumatic events. Twin studies suggest that the trauma-PTSS relationship is moderated by genetic and environmental influences. The present study tested for specific types of genetic and environmental interaction effects on PTSS. A sample of 222 monozygotic and 184 dizygotic twin pairs reported on lifetime frequency of assaultive and nonassaultive trauma and associated PTSS. Biometric analyses indicated that in the case of nonassaultive trauma, PTSS were directly affected by environmental factors that also influence exposure to nonassaultive trauma. For assaultive trauma both genetic and non-shared environmental influences jointly affected PTSS, and the number of traumatic events moderated the severity of PTSS. Genetic factors were found to become less important beyond some threshold (e.g., 3 or 4 types of serious trauma) suggesting that genetic factors — which may confer either risk or resilience to PTSS — modify these symptoms within a range of human experience, beyond which environmental effects supervene.
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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