In 1986 we began The Netherlands Twin Register (NTR) by recruiting young twins and multiples a few weeks or months after birth. Currently we register around 50% of all newborn multiples in The Netherlands. Their parents receive a questionnaire at registration and afterwards when the children are 2, 3, 5, 7, 10 and 12 years of age. Teachers are asked to rate the behavior of the children at ages 7, 10 and 12 years. Adolescent and young-adult twins were recruited through City Councils in the early 1990s. These twins, their parents and siblings participate in longitudinal survey studies that include items about health, fertility, lifestyle, addiction, personality and psychopathology, religion, socioeconomic status, and educational attainment. The total number of twins and multiples registered with the NTR is currently over 60,000. Subgroups of twins and siblings take part in studies of cognitive development, brain function and neuropsychological indices of attention processes, and molecular genetic studies of classical and behavioral cardiovascular risk factors. DNA samples are currently collected in selected twin families for two large linkage studies, which aim to find QTLs for anxious depression and for nicotine addiction. Sisters who are mothers of DZ twins contribute DNA samples for a linkage study of DZ twinning. Large cohorts of phenotyped family members from the general population are very valuable for genetic epidemiological studies and permit selection of informative families for gene finding studies.
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