Twin Research and Human Genetics

Articles/The Netherlands

Netherlands Twin Register: From Twins to Twin Families

Dorret I. Boomsmaa1 c1, Eco J. C. de Geusa2, Jacqueline M. Vinka3, Janine H. Stubbea4, Marijn A. Distela5, Jouke-Jan Hottengaa6, Danielle Posthumaa7, Toos C. E. M. van Beijsterveldta8, James J. Hudziaka9, Meike Bartelsa10 and Gonneke Willemsena11

a1 Department of Biological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. dorret@psy.vu.nl

a2 Department of Biological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

a3 Department of Biological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

a4 Department of Biological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

a5 Department of Biological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

a6 Department of Biological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

a7 Department of Biological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

a8 Department of Biological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

a9 Department of Biological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

a10 Department of Biological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

a11 Department of Biological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Abstract

In the late 1980s The Netherlands Twin Register (NTR) was established by recruiting young twins and multiples at birth and by approaching adolescent and young adult twins through city councils. The Adult NTR (ANTR) includes twins, their parents, siblings, spouses and their adult offspring. The number of participants in the ANTR who take part in survey and / or laboratory studies is over 22,000 subjects. A special group of participants consists of sisters who are mothers of twins. In the Young NTR (YNTR), data on more than 50,000 young twins have been collected. Currently we are extending the YNTR by including siblings of twins. Participants in YNTR and ANTR have been phenotyped every 2 to 3 years in longitudinal survey studies, since 1986 and 1991 for the YNTR and ANTR, respectively. The resulting large population-based datasets are used for genetic epidemiological studies and also, for example, to advance phenotyping through the development of new syndrome scales based on existing items from other inventories. New research developments further include brain imaging studies in selected and unselected groups, clinical assessment of psychopathology through interviews, and cross-referencing the NTR database to other national databases. A large biobank enterprise is ongoing in the ANTR in which blood and urine samples are collected for genotyping, expression analysis, and meta-bolomics studies. In this paper we give an update on the YNTR and ANTR phenotyping and on the ongoing ANTR biobank studies.

(Received July 08 2006)

(Accepted July 19 2006)

Correspondence:

c1 Address for correspondence: Dorret Boomsma, Department of Biological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

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