Twins. Novel uses to study complex traits and genetic diseases

Trends Genet. 2000 Mar;16(3):131-4. doi: 10.1016/s0168-9525(99)01946-0.


The challenge faced by research into the genetic basis of complex disease is to identify genes of small relative effect against a background of substantial genetic and environmental variation. This has focused interest on a classical epidemiological design: the study of twins. Through their precise matching for age, the common family environment and background environmental variation, studying diseases in non-identical twins provides a means to enhance the power of conventional strategies to detect genetic influence through linkage and association. The unique matching of identical twins provides researchers with ways to isolate the function of individual genes involved in disease together with approaches to understanding how genes and the environment interact.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diseases in Twins / genetics
  • Environment
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Twin Studies as Topic*
  • Twins, Dizygotic
  • Twins, Monozygotic / genetics