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The present study aimed to determine the genetic and environmental etiology of the association between childhood negative emotionality (NE) and hyperactivity/inattention problems (HIP) using South Korean elementary school twins (mean age = 10.19 years, SD = 1.79 years). Telephone interviews were given to mothers of 919 twins (229 monozygotic males: 112 pairs and 5 individuals; 148 dizygotic males: 73 pairs and 2 individuals; 180 monozygotic females: 87 pairs and 6 individuals; 103 dizygotic females: 50 pairs and 3 individuals; 259 opposite-sex dizygotic twins: 127 pairs and 5 individuals) to assess their children’s NE and HIP. Consistent with prior studies, the phenotypic correlation between NE and the HIP was moderate (r = .29; 95% CI = .24, .34). Model-fitting analysis revealed that additive genetic and nonshared environmental influences on NE were .45 (95% CI [.34, .54]) and .55 (95% CI [.46, .66]), respectively, and that additive and nonadditive genetic, and nonshared environmental influences on HIP were .08 (95% CI [.03, .26]), .41 (95% CI [.21, .51]) and .51 (95% CI = .42, .61), respectively. In addition, the additive genetic correlation between NE and HIP was 1.0 (95% CI [.52, 1.00]), indicating that additive genetic factors are entirely shared between the two phenotypes. Nonadditive genetic influences were unique to HIP and not responsible for the NE-HIP association. Nonshared environmental correlation was significant but modest (re = .18, 95% CI [.06, .30]).
The South Korean Twin Registry (SKTR) is an ongoing nationwide volunteer registry of South Korean twins and their families. Since its inception, from preschooler to young adult, twins have been registered with the SKTR and have demonstrated that relative influences of genetic and environmental factors explaining individual differences in various psychological, mental health and physical traits in South Koreans are similar to those found in many Western twin studies. Currently, studies at the SKTR focus on identification of the process of gene-by-environment interactions as well as developmental differences in genetic and environmental influences on psychological and mental health traits in South Koreans. This report provides a brief overview, recruitment strategies, current samples, zygosity assessment, measures and future directions of the SKTR.
Here we provide an update of the 2013 report on the Nigerian Twin and Sibling Registry (NTSR). The major aim of the NTSR is to understand genetic and environmental influences and their interplay in psychological and mental health development in Nigerian children and adolescents. Africans have the highest twin birth rates among all human populations, and Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. Due to its combination of large population and high twin birth rates, Nigeria has one of the largest twin populations in the world. In this article, we provide current updates on the NTSR samples recruited, recruitment procedures, zygosity assessment and findings emerging from the NTSR.
There is a growing body of literature linking religious attendance to prosocial behavior (PB). The main purposes of the present study were to estimate genetic and environmental influences on the frequency of religious attendance (FRA) and to explore whether and how FRA moderates genetic and/or environmental influences on PB. As part of the Nigerian Twin and Sibling Study, 2860 (280 monozygotic male, 417 monozygotic female, 544 dizygotic male, 699 dizygotic female, and 920 opposite-sex dizygotic) twins (mean age = 14.2 years; SD = 1.7 years; age range = 12–18 years) completed a questionnaire regarding FRA and a PB scale. Similar to the findings from western twin samples, FRA showed substantial shared environmental influences of 74% (95% CI = 69%, 78%), with absence of genetic effects. The phenotypic correlation between FRA and PB was modest but positive and significant (r = .12; p < .01), suggesting that PB is higher among more frequent attenders than among less frequent attenders. The results of gene–environment (G × E) interaction model-fitting analysis revealed that FRA changed individual environmental experiences rather than genetic effects on PB such that while genetic variance was stable, non-shared environmental variance declined, leading the total phenotypic variance of PB to decrease with increasing levels of religious attendance.
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.
Research shows that perceived family cohesion is positively related to prosocial behavior in adolescents. In this study, we investigated heritability of prosocial behavior (PB) and perceived family cohesion (FC) among Nigerian twins attending public schools in Lagos State, Nigeria (mean age = 14.7 years, SD = 1.7 years), and explored the issue of whether children's perception of cohesive family environment moderated genetic and environmental influences on (PB). The PB scale of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire and the FC scale of the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scale III were completed by 2,376 twins (241 monozygotic (MZ) male, 354 MZ female, 440 dizygotic (DZ) male, 553 DZ female, and 788 opposite-sex DZ twins). A general sex-limitation and the bivariate genotype by environment interaction (G×E) models were applied to the data. The general sex-limitation model showed no significant sex differences, indicating that additive genetic and non-shared environmental influences were, 38% (95% CI = 31, 46) and 62% (95% CI = 54, 69) for PB and 33% (95% CI = 24, 40) and 67% (95% CI = 60, 76) for FC in both sexes. These estimates were similar to those found in Western and Asian twin studies to date. The correlation between PB and FC was 0.36. The best-fitting bivariate G×E model indicated that FC significantly moderated non-shared environmental influence unique to PB (E×E interaction). Specifically, non-shared environmental contributions to PB were highest when FC was lowest, and decreased as the levels of FC increased. However, genetic variances in PB were stable across all levels of FC. These findings suggest that FC reduces individual differences in PB by changing non-shared environmental experiences rather than genetic factors in PB.
We analyzed birth order differences in means and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins from infancy to old age. The data were derived from the international CODATwins database. The total number of height and BMI measures from 0.5 to 79.5 years of age was 397,466. As expected, first-born twins had greater birth weight than second-born twins. With respect to height, first-born twins were slightly taller than second-born twins in childhood. After adjusting the results for birth weight, the birth order differences decreased and were no longer statistically significant. First-born twins had greater BMI than the second-born twins over childhood and adolescence. After adjusting the results for birth weight, birth order was still associated with BMI until 12 years of age. No interaction effect between birth order and zygosity was found. Only limited evidence was found that birth order influenced variances of height or BMI. The results were similar among boys and girls and also in MZ and DZ twins. Overall, the differences in height and BMI between first- and second-born twins were modest even in early childhood, while adjustment for birth weight reduced the birth order differences but did not remove them for BMI.
The South Korean Twin Registry (SKTR) is an ongoing nation-wide volunteer registry of South Korean twins and their families, which was established in the year 2001 to understand genetic and environmental etiologies of psychological and physical traits among South Koreans. Recently, the SKTR sampling has been extended in two important ways. First, we began to recruit twins from lower socio-economic families to study interaction effects of gene by environmental context. Second, as a parallel study of the SKTR, the Nigerian Twin and Sibling Registry was developed to understand the origin of the population group differences/similarities in psychological traits between South Koreans and Nigerians. This article summarizes the main findings (based on the SKTR sample to date), recruitment procedures, zygosity assessment, measures, and future plans for the SKTR.
Twin studies of Africans have been scarce although Africans have shown the highest twin birth rate in the world. As a parallel study of the South Korean Twin Registry, the Nigerian Twin and Sibling Registry (NTSR) was developed to understand causal influences on the development of cognitive abilities, personality, and mental health among Nigerians. Currently, 1,134 twins and 404 full- and half-siblings have been registered with NTSR. This article describes research background, goals, major recruitment strategies, measures, and future directions of the NTSR.
The mothers of 603 pairs of 3- to 13-year-old twins in Korea completed the Emotionality, Activity, Sociability (EAS) Temperament Survey and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire in reference to their twins. Principal factor analysis of the seven scales comprising these measures yielded a general factor on which all the scales had moderate to large loadings. Univariate behavioral genetic analyses showed that individual differences on this general factor could best be accounted for by additive genetic and non-shared environmental effects, with a heritability of 53%. The results strengthen the construct validity of the general factor of personality (GFP) by extracting this higher-order dimension from disparate measures, and have implications regarding social desirability criticisms applied to the GFP theory.
The prevalence of the feeling of cold hands and feet (FCHF) is high in the
general population but the etiology of FCHF is largely unknown. The aim of the
present study was to explore whether the FCHF is heritable. Eight hundred and
ninety-four pairs of twins completed a question about FCHF. Tetrachoric
correlations for FCHF were .58, .29, .67, .52, and .04 for monozygotic male,
dizygotic male, monozygotic female, and dizygotic female twins, respectively.
Model-fitting analyses suggested that in the best fitting model, additive
genetic and nonshared environmental variance including measurement error were
64% (95% CI: 55%-72%) and 36% (28%-45%), respectively. Sex differences in
genetic and environmental influences were not significant.
Recent molecular genetic studies provide suggestive evidence for sexual dimorphism in genetics of obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, only a few twin studies have addressed the question of sex differences in genetic and environmental contributions to variation of obsessive–compulsive symptoms. The aim of the present study was to estimate genetic and environmental influences on obsessive–compulsive symptoms in South Korean twins, with a special emphasis on sex difference. In total, 751 adolescent and young adult twin pairs (ages: 13–23 years) completed a Korean version of the 30 items of the Maudsley Obsessional — Compulsive Inventory (MOCI) through a mail survey. A sum of the answers for the 30 items was calculated to represent a total score for obsessive–compulsive symptoms (hereafter, the MOCIT). Males had significantly higher variance of the MOCIT than did females. In males, monozygotic (MZ) twin correlation was significantly higher than dizygotic (DZ) twin correlations (.56 vs. .24), whereas in females, MZ and DZ twin correlations were not significantly different from each other (.39 vs. .36). The general sex-limitation model was applied to the twin data. The results of model-fitting analyses indicated that the unstandardized genetic variance as well as heritability estimate (53% vs. 41%) for the MOCIT was higher in males than in females. However, shared environmental influences did not attain statistical significance perhaps due to insufficient statistical power.
The South Korean Twin Registry (SKTR), previously called the Seoul Twin Family Study, is a nationwide volunteer registry of South Korean twins and their families. Since 2002, the SKTR has been updated in 4 important ways. First, continued sampling led to an increase in the number of twins. Second, the target area, Seoul, was enlarged to include other cities and rural areas in the country. Third, the target population was extended from school-aged twins to preschool and adult twins. Fourth, the research focus was expanded to include psychiatric and physical disease phenotypes. The present article describes a brief history of the SKTR, goals and current research highlights, recent major accomplishments, and future directions.
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