Resemblance of tongue anatomy in twins

Twin Res Hum Genet. 2011 Jun;14(3):277-82. doi: 10.1375/twin.14.3.277.


This study compared the anatomical features of the tongue in nine pairs of twins - six monozygotic and three dizygotic. The aim of the project was to determine if tongues, like any other anatomical structure, could be used to reliably predict relatedness given that tongue shape, presentation and surface can be influenced by environment. Using the method of forced choice, 30 subjects were asked to match the photographs of tongues from twins. Our data indicate that, based on visual assessment, monozygotic twins have highly similar tongues (60% matches); similarly, dizygotic twins were matched 31% of the time, which is a higher probability than would be expected from random selection. This study should help identify baseline and control data in future behavioral studies of taste, which has a genetic basis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Twin Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Tongue / anatomy & histology*
  • Twins, Dizygotic
  • Twins, Monozygotic
  • Young Adult