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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.
Stillbirth rates of triplet births in the whole of Japan were analyzed using vital statistics from 1975 to 1998. Stillbirths were registered at 12 weeks gestation or later. The stillbirth rate was significantly higher in like- than in unlike-sex triplets for 1975–1998. During the 23-year period the stillbirth rate decreased from 342 to 49 per 1000 total births for like-sex and from 195 to 54 for unlike-sex triplets. The decrease in the stillbirth rate in the 23-year period was greater in both like- and unlike-sex triplets than in singleton and twin births. Risk factors for stillbirth in triplets were like-sex, youngest or oldest maternal age groups, shorter gestational age and lower birthweight. It is recommended that the optimum period to give birth for triplet pregnancies is 34–35 weeks of gestation for Japanese women.
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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