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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.
The purpose of the present study was to clarify genetic and environmental origins of psychological traits of eating disorders using a Japanese female twin sample. Participants were 162 pairs of female twins consisting of 116 pairs of monozygotic (MZ) twins and 46 pairs of dizygotic (DZ) twins in their adolescence. Psychological traits of eating disorders were assessed with five subscales of the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI). As a result of using univariate twin analyses, among five subscales of EDI (maturity fears, ineffectiveness, interpersonal distrust, interoceptive awareness, and perfectionism), perfectionism showed significant additive genetic contributions and individual specific environmental effects. On the other hand, maturity fears, ineffectiveness, interoceptive awareness, and interpersonal distrust indicated significant shared environment contributions and individual specific environment effects. The results suggest the importance of both genetic and shared environmental influences on psychological traits of eating disorders in the present study.
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