Testosterone is an important hormone in the sexual differentiation of the brain, contributing to differences in cognitive abilities between males and females. For instance, studies in clinical populations such as females with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) who are exposed to high levels of androgens in utero support arguments for prenatal testosterone effects on characteristics such as visuospatial cognition and behaviour. The comparison of opposite-sex (OS) and same-sex (SS) twin pairs can be used to help establish the role of prenatal testosterone. However, although some twin studies confirm a masculinizing effect of a male co-twin regarding for instance perception and cognition it remains unclear whether intra-uterine hormone transfer exists in humans. Our aim was to test the potential influences of testosterone on academic performance in OS twins. We compared ninth-grade test scores and teacher ratings of OS (n=1812) and SS (n=4054) twins as well as of twins and singletons (n=13,900) in mathematics, physics/chemistry, Danish, and English. We found that males had significantly higher test scores in mathematics than females (.06-.15 SD), whereas females performed better in Danish (.33-.49 SD), English (.20 SD), and neatness (.45-.64 SD). However, we did not find that OS females performed better in mathematics than SS and singleton females, nor did they perform worse either in Danish or English. Scores for OS and SS males were similar in all topics. In conclusion, this study did not provide evidence for a masculinization of female twins with male co-twins with regard to academic performance in adolescence.
Cites: Behav Genet. 1993 Jul;23(4):323-98240211
Cites: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993 Dec 15;90(24):11900-48265645
To explore the links between neurodevelopmental disorders - attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) - and personality in a population-based, genetically sensitive study of children.
A population-based sample of 1886 twins aged 9 and 12, enriched for childhood mental health problems, was recruited from the Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden (CATSS). Parents were interviewed over the telephone using the Autism-Tics, AD/HD and other Comorbidities (A-TAC) inventory, and in a second step they rated their children according to the Junior Temperament and Character Inventory (JTCI).
ADHD was strongly correlated with novelty seeking, while ASD was correlated positively with harm avoidance and negatively with reward dependence. The strongest associations between personality traits and neurodevelopmental disorders were negative correlations between the character dimensions of self-directedness and cooperativeness and ADHD and ASD alike. Cross-twin cross-trait correlations between ADHD, ASD, and personality dimensions in monozygotic twins were more than double those in dizygotic twins, indicating a strong genetic effect behind the phenotypic covariation between neurodevelopmental disorders and personality.
Neurodevelopmental disorders are linked specifically to particular temperament profiles and generally to hampered development of the self-governing strategies referred to as "character." Poor self-agency and cooperation may be core functional outcomes in the separation of children with handicapping conditions from those with traits only reminiscent of neurodevelopmental disorders. The associations between neurodevelopmental disorders and personality are at least partly due to genetic effects influencing both conditions. As a consequence, personality must be broadly considered in neuropsychiatry, just as neuropsychiatric disorders and their genetic, neurodevelopmental, and cognitive susceptibilities have to be in personality research and clinical treatment.
Adolescent alcohol abuse is associated with adverse outcomes in early adulthood, but differences in familial status and structure and household and community environments correlate with both adolescent drinking and adverse adult outcomes and may explain their association. We studied drinking-discordant twin pairs to evaluate such confounds to ask: Will between-family associations replicate in within-family comparisons?
With longitudinal data from >3,000 Finnish twins, we associated drinking problems at age 18½ with 13 outcomes assessed at age 25; included were sustained substance abuse, poor health, physical symptoms, early coital debut, multiple sexual partners, life dissatisfaction, truncated education, and financial problems. We assessed associations among twins as individuals with linear regression adjusted for correlated observations; within-family analyses of discordant twin pairs followed, comparing paired means for adult outcomes among co-twins discordant for adolescent problem drinking. Defining discordance by extreme scores on self-reported problem drinking at age 18½ permitted parallel analyses of twins as individuals and discordant twin pairs. Alternate definitions of pair-wise discordance and difference score correlations across the entire twin sample yielded supplementary analyses.
All individual associations were highly significant for all definitions of discordance we employed. Depending on definitions of discordance, 11 to 13 comparisons of all drinking-discordant twin pairs and 3 to 6 comparisons of discordant monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs replicated between-family associations. For most outcomes, effect size attenuated from individual-level analysis to that within discordant MZ twin pairs providing evidence of partial confounding in associations reported in earlier research. The exception was the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ); at age 25, GHQ-12 had equivalent associations with age 18½ Rutgers Alcohol Problem Index across all comparisons.
Our analyses control for shared family background, and, partly or fully, for shared genes, to yield within-family replications and more compelling evidence than previously available that adolescent alcohol abuse disrupts transitions into early adulthood.
STUDY DESIGN: A questionnaire-based identification of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) patients in a twin cohort. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to establish a scoliosis twin cohort to provide data on the heritability of AIS. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: The etiology of AIS is still unclear, and the true mode of inheritance has yet to be established. Concordance rates in monozygotic twins have been reported to be between 0.73 and 0.92, and in dizygotic twins between 0.36 and 0.63. Studies on concordance in twin pairs provide a basis for analyzing the influence of genetic versus environmental factors. METHODS: All 46,418 twins registered in the Danish Twin Registry born from 1931 to 1982 were sent a questionnaire, which included questions about scoliosis. A total of 34,944 (75.3%) representing 23,204 pairs returned the questionnaire. RESULTS: A subgroup of 220 subjects considered to have AIS was identified, thus giving a prevalence of 1.05%. The concordant twin pairs were all monozygotic. Pairwise, the concordance rate was 0.13 for monozygotic and zero for dizygotic twin pairs; proband-wise concordance was 0.25 for monozygotic and zero for dizygotic pairs. The concordance of monozygotic and dizygotic pairs was significantly different (P
BACKGROUND: In many biomedical disorders, early age at onset (AAO) is an index of high liability to illness which is manifest by an increased risk of illness in relatives. Most but not all prior studies report such a pattern for major depression (MD). METHOD: Lifetime MD and AAO were assessed at personal interview using modified DSM-III-R criteria in 13864 twin pairs, including 4229 onsets of MD, from the Swedish National Twin Registry. Analyses were conducted using Cox proportional hazards models. RESULTS: Controlling for year of birth, gender, zygosity, co-twin history of MD and the interaction of zygosity and co-twin history, the best-fit model showed a significant main effect and a quadratic effect of AAO of MD in the co-twin on the log hazard ratio for MD in the index twin. When examined together, these effects predicted that from the ages of 15 to approximately 35 years, AAO of MD is moderately negatively related to risk of illness in relatives. However, past age 35, the function flattens out, with little change of risk in relatives with further increases of AAO. Even when the co-twin had a late AAO, the risk in the index twin substantially exceeded that seen when the co-twin had no history of MD. CONCLUSION: In this large sample, AAO is a meaningful, albeit modest, index of familial liability to MD. The relationship is nonlinear and results largely from an increased liability in individuals with an early AAO. These results should be interpreted in the context of the limitations of long-term recall.
The ages of onset in multiple sclerosis cases span more than 7 decades. Data are presented for affected relative pairs from a Canadian population base of 30,000 multiple sclerosis index cases (1993-2008). The effects of genetic sharing, parent of origin, intergenerational versus collinear differences, and gender on the ages of onset were evaluated in the following concordant pairs: monozygotic twins (n = 29), dizygotic twins (n = 10), siblings (n = 614), first cousins (n = 405), half siblings (n = 29), parent/child (n = 285), and aunt/uncle/niece/nephew (avunculars) (n = 289). Fisher's z test assessed intraclass correlation (r) for ages of onset. Correlations for monozygotic twins, dizygotic twins, full siblings, and first cousins were 0.60, 0.54, 0.20, and 0.10, respectively. Dizygotic twins resembled monozygotic twins more than siblings. The age-of-onset correlation for maternal half siblings (r = 0.37) was higher than that for paternal half siblings (r = 0.26), consistent with other observations suggesting an intrauterine environmental effect on multiple sclerosis risk. Intergenerational comparisons are complicated by substantial increases of multiple sclerosis incidence over time. Genetic loading (familial vs. sporadic cases) did not generally influence the age of onset, but correlation of age of onset in multiple sclerosis relative pairs was proportional to genetic sharing. A maternal parent-of-origin effect on the age of onset in collinear generations was suggested.
The aim of this study was to examine the effects of genetic and environment influences and sex on injury involvement using two sets of Finnish twin data. The younger participants were 955 twins born between 1983 and 1987, aged 20 to 24 years. The older participants were 12,428 twins born between 1930 and 1957, aged 33 to 60 years. Within-twin correlations in monozygotic and dizygotic twins suggested that genetic effects play no role in injury involvement among young twins, but do have some effect at older ages. The results indicated that environmental factors have greater importance in injury involvement than genetic factors in the younger twin data set (FT12), whereas in a middle-aged (33-60 years) twin data set, genetic effects explained about quarter of the variance in injury involvement. Sex was a strong contributing factor, with males being generally more prone to injuries than females.
Previous research suggests that the association between conflictual parent-child relationships and maladjustment among adolescents is influenced by genetic effects emanating from the adolescents. In this study, we examined whether these effects are mediated by childhood aggression. The data come from the Twin study of CHild and Adolescent Development (TCHAD), a Swedish longitudinal study including 1,314 twin pairs followed from age 13-14 to 16-17. Early adolescent aggression, parental criticism, and delinquency in later adolescence were rated by parents and children at different time points. Multivariate genetic structural equation models were used to estimate genetic and environmental influences on these constructs and on their covariation. The results showed that approximately half of the genetic contribution to the association between parental criticism and delinquency was explained by early adolescent aggression. It suggests that aggression in children evokes negative parenting, which in turn influences adolescent antisocial behavior. The mechanism proposed by these findings is consistent with evocative gene-environment correlation.
The aim of this study was to investigate alcohol consumption in relation to the incidence of type 2 diabetes.
The study population consisted of 22778 twins of the Finnish Twin Cohort. This cohort was compiled in 1975 and includes all same-sexed twins born in Finland before 1958. Information on alcohol, smoking, diet, physical activity, medical, and social conditions was obtained by questionnaires administered in 1975, 1981, and 1990. By record linkage to national registers of hospital discharge and prescribed medication, 580 incident cases of type 2 diabetes were identified during 20 years of follow-up.
Moderate alcohol consumption (5-29.9 g/day in men and 5-19.9 g/day in women) tended to be associated with a reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes compared with low consumption (or=25.0 kg/m(2)) subjects (relative risk 0.7, 95% CI 0.5-1.0 [men]; 0.6, 0.3-1.1 [women]). High alcohol consumption (>or=20 g/day) was associated with an increased incidence of type 2 diabetes in lean women (2.9, 1.1-7.5) but not in overweight women or in men. In women, binge drinking was associated with an increased incidence of type 2 diabetes (2.1, 1.0-4.4). Analyses of alcohol-discordant twin pairs supported a reduced risk in moderate consuming twins compared with their low-consuming cotwins (odds ratio 0.5, 95% CI 0.2-1.5).
The results of this study suggested that moderate alcohol consumption may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, binge drinking and high alcohol consumption may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes in women.
We tested the association between alcohol use disorder (AUD) and divorce; estimated the genetic and environmental influences on divorce; estimated how much genetic and environmental influences accounted for covariance between AUD and divorce; and estimated latent genetic and environmental correlations between AUD and divorce. We tested sex differences in these effects.
We identified twin and sibling pairs with AUD and divorce information in Swedish national registers. We described the association between AUD and divorce using tetrachorics and used twin and sibling models to estimate genetic and environmental influences on divorce, on the covariance between AUD and divorce and the latent genetic and environmental correlations between AUD and divorce.
A total of 670?836 individuals (53% male) born 1940-1965.
Life-time measures of AUD and divorce.
AUD and divorce were related strongly (males: rtet = +0.44, 95% CI = 0.43, 0.45; females rtet = +0.37, 95% CI = 0.36, 0.38). Genetic factors accounted for a modest proportion of the variance in divorce (males: 21.3%, 95% CI = 7.6, 28.5; females: 31.0%, 95% CI = 18.8, 37.1). Genetic factors accounted for most of the covariance between AUD and divorce (males: 52.0%, 95% CI = 48.8, 67.9; females: 53.74%, 95% CI = 17.6, 54.5), followed by non-shared environmental factors (males: 45.0%, 95% CI = 37.5, 54.9; females: 41.6%, 95% CI = 40.3, 60.2). Shared environmental factors accounted for a negligible proportion of the covariance (males: 3.0%, 95% CI = -3.0, 13.5; females: 4.75%, 95% CI = 0.0, 6.6). The AUD-divorce genetic correlations were high (males: rA = +0.76, 95% CI = 0.53, 0.90; females +0.52, 95% CI = 0.24, 0.67). The non-shared environmental correlations were modest (males: rE = +0.32, 95% CI = 0.31, 0.40; females: +0.27, 95% CI = 0.27, 0.36).
Divorce and alcohol use disorder are correlated strongly in the Swedish population, and the heritability of divorce is consistent with previous studies. Covariation between AUD and divorce results from overlapping genetic and non-shared environmental factors. Latent genetic and non-shared environmental correlations for alcohol use disorder and divorce are high and moderate.