A twin-pronged attack on complex traits

Nat Genet. 1997 Dec;17(4):387-92. doi: 10.1038/ng1297-387.


Before one starts the hunt for quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for a complex trait, it is necessary to show that the trait is genetically influenced. This evidence is most likely to come from the classical twin study--the demonstration that monozygotic twins are more similar for the trait than dizygotic twins. The strengths and weaknesses of twin studies are discussed, and it is suggested that, far from becoming irrelevant with advances in molecular biology, they can improve the efficiency of QTL detection and play an important role in unravelling developmental genetic mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diseases in Twins / genetics*
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Genetic Markers
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Quantitative Trait, Heritable*
  • Social Environment
  • Twins, Dizygotic / genetics*
  • Twins, Monozygotic / genetics*


  • Genetic Markers