Age- and sex-differences in the validity of questionnaire-based zygosity in twins

Twin Res. 2003 Aug;6(4):275-8. doi: 10.1375/136905203322296610.


Questionnaire-based zygosity assessment in twins has generally been found to be valid. In this report we evaluate sex- and age-differences in the validity of such questionnaire-based classification when using the four questions that have been the basis of zygosity assessment in The Danish Twin Registry for half a century. Three hundred and forty-two male and 531 female twin pairs were zygosity diagnosed using genetic markers and the results compared with the original questionnaire based classification. We found significant differences in the accuracy of questionnaire based zygosity diagnosis when stratifying the data for sex as well as age: males and monozygotic having the highest misclassification. However, even in the group with the highest misclassification rate the frequency was less than 8%. The overall misclassification rate was only 4%, with a clear tendency towards a higher proportion of misclassified monozygotic than dizygotic twins. The results demonstrate that questionnaire based zygosity diagnosis can still be regarded as a valid and valuable classification method for most purposes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Twin Study
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Registries
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires* / standards
  • Twins, Dizygotic*
  • Twins, Monozygotic*