The Southern Illinois Twins and Siblings Study (SITSS): description and update

Twin Res Hum Genet. 2013 Feb;16(1):371-5. doi: 10.1017/thg.2012.69. Epub 2012 Oct 9.


This update on the Southern Illinois Twins and Siblings Study (SITSS) documents some of the follow-up studies that have been conducted and results that have been obtained from this sample. At the current time, 283 twin pairs, 8 triplet families, 98 non-twin sibling pairs, and 287 singletons have been enrolled in SITSS. Twins and triplets are tested as young as 1 year of age and then every year on their birthday through age 5 years. A variety of follow-up studies have been conducted for SITSS children through age 20. Results thus far have demonstrated significant genetic influences on social behaviors such as aggression, victimization, and attention toward facial expressions. Interesting interactions have been documented between the dopamine receptor D4 gene (DRD4) and the social environment (parental sensitivity or peer aggression) as they predict children's aggressive behaviors. In addition, increased difficulty with social interactions has been noted for twins versus singletons. Thus, this multi-trait, multi-method behavior genetic data set contributes to our understanding of the etiology of social behaviors in preschoolers and to predictors of similar behaviors through adolescence.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diseases in Twins / epidemiology*
  • Diseases in Twins / genetics
  • Diseases in Twins / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gene-Environment Interaction*
  • Genetics, Behavioral*
  • Humans
  • Illinois / epidemiology
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Phenotype
  • Receptors, Dopamine D4 / genetics
  • Registries*
  • Siblings*
  • Social Behavior
  • Social Environment
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Twins / genetics*
  • Twins / statistics & numerical data


  • DRD4 protein, human
  • Receptors, Dopamine D4