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An Update on the Italian Twin Register: Advances in Cohort Recruitment, Project Building and Network Development

  • Sonia Brescianini (a1), Corrado Fagnani (a1), Virgilia Toccaceli (a1), Emanuela Medda (a1), Lorenza Nisticò (a1), Cristina D'Ippolito (a1), Sabrina Alviti (a1), Antonio Arnofi (a1), Bruno Caffari (a2), Davide Delfino (a1), Maurizio Ferri (a3), Luana Penna (a1), Miriam Salemi (a1), Silvia Sereni (a1), Laura Serino (a1) (a4), Rodolfo Cotichini (a1) (a5) and Maria A. Stazi (a1)...


The Italian Twin Register has been in place for more than 10 years. Since its establishment, it has been focusing, on the one hand, on a continuous update of the existing information, and on the other hand, on new phenotypes and sample collection. Demographic data on about 140,000 twins have been updated using the municipality registries. The Italian Twin Register has been carrying out several new studies during the last few years. A birth cohort of twins, Multiple Births Cohort Study, has been started and the enrolment is ongoing. For this cohort, data on pregnancy and birth are collected, and periodical follow-ups are made. DNA is being collected for the twins and their parents. In the area of behavioral genetics, most efforts have been directed to psychological well being assessed with self-reported tools. Research on age-related traits continues with studies on arteriosclerosis development, early biomarkers in mild cognitive impairment, and the relation between lifestyle habits and mutagen sensitivity. The Italian Twin Register biobanking has grown in its size and in its know-how in terms of both technical issues and ethical procedures implementation. Furthermore, attitudes toward biobank-based research, together with willingness and motivation for donation, are being investigated. A valuable key resource for the Italian Twin Register is the possibility of linking twin data with disease registries. This approach has been yielding several important results, such as the recent study on the heritability of type 1 diabetes.

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Corresponding author

address for correspondence: Sonia Brescianini, Genetic Epidemiology Unit, National Centre for Epidemiology, Surveillance and Health Promotion, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, viale Regina Elena 299, 00161 Rome, Italy. E-mail:


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