The Australian Twin Registry (ATR), established in the late 1970s, is a volunteer registry of over 30,000 pairs of Australian twins of all zygosity types and ages unselected for their health or medical history. The ATR does not undertake research itself but acts as facilitator, providing an important national and international resource for medical and scientific researchers across a broad range of disciplines. Its core functions are the maintenance of an up-to-date database containing basic contact details and baseline information, and the management of access to the resource in ways that enhance research capacity within Australia while protecting the rights of twins. The ATR has facilitated more than 200 studies using a variety of designs, including classic biometrical twin and twin family studies, co-twin control studies, intervention studies, longitudinal studies, and studies of issues relevant specifically to twins. These have yielded more than 300 peer-reviewed publications to date. Areas of major research include studies of behavior, musculoskeletal conditions, teeth and face patterns, cardiovascular risk factors, substance abuse, and risk factors for melanoma and breast cancer. Extensive longitudinal data are available for around 10,000 pairs. DNA samples have been obtained from more than 6000 twins. Considerable efforts are devoted to maintaining the commitment of registry members and recruitment. The ATR hopes to secure funding to expand its activities, including the systematic collection of DNA samples, so that it can continue to play a major role in the development of twin research and contribute to the annotation of the human genome.
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