Genetic and environmental factors in complex diseases: the older Finnish Twin Cohort

Twin Res. 2002 Oct;5(5):358-65. doi: 10.1375/136905202320906093.


In studies on the Finnish Twin Cohort, we investigate genetic and environmental determinants of common, complex diseases, and their behavioral risk factors in Finland, a genetically unique and culturally homogenous population. We have formed the following databases: 1) Like-sexed twin pairs (13,888 pairs of known zygosity) form the older Twin Cohort. They have participated since 1975 in mail surveys, in clinical examinations for subsamples, and have been followed-up for morbidity using national medical registers; 2) The older Twin Cohort was expanded in 1996 to include opposite-sex pairs born 1938-1957 (c. 8000 pairs); 3) Two, new longitudinal studies of adolescent twins and their families, form a complementary, ongoing study base described in more detail in an accompanying article. Genetic and environmental effects vary over the life-span, and only longitudinal studies in genetically informative data sets permits the evaluation of such effects. Finally, the inclusion of DNA-based genetic information in a phenotypically rich family data base will offer a unique resource for research in genetic epidemiology and behavioral medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies*
  • Databases, Factual*
  • Diseases in Twins / epidemiology
  • Diseases in Twins / genetics*
  • Environment*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Gene Library
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / epidemiology
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Epidemiology
  • Morbidity
  • Registries*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Twin Studies as Topic*