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Education in Twins and Their Parents Across Birth Cohorts Over 100 years: An Individual-Level Pooled Analysis of 42-Twin Cohorts

  • Karri Silventoinen (a1) (a2), Aline Jelenkovic (a1) (a3), Antti Latvala (a4) (a5), Reijo Sund (a1) (a6), Yoshie Yokoyama (a7), Vilhelmina Ullemar (a8), Catarina Almqvist (a8) (a9), Catherine A. Derom (a10) (a11), Robert F. Vlietinck (a10), Ruth J. F. Loos (a12), Christian Kandler (a13), Chika Honda (a2), Fujio Inui (a2) (a14), Yoshinori Iwatani (a2), Mikio Watanabe (a2), Esther Rebato (a3), Maria A. Stazi (a15), Corrado Fagnani (a15), Sonia Brescianini (a15), Yoon-Mi Hur (a16), Hoe-Uk Jeong (a16), Tessa L. Cutler (a17), John L. Hopper (a17) (a18), Andreas Busjahn (a19), Kimberly J. Saudino (a20), Fuling Ji (a21), Feng Ning (a21), Zengchang Pang (a21), Richard J. Rose (a22), Markku Koskenvuo (a4) (a5), Kauko Heikkilä (a4) (a5), Wendy Cozen (a23) (a24), Amie E. Hwang (a23), Thomas M. Mack (a23) (a24), Sisira H. Siribaddana (a25) (a26), Matthew Hotopf (a27), Athula Sumathipala (a25) (a28), Fruhling Rijsdijk (a29), Joohon Sung (a18) (a30), Jina Kim (a18), Jooyeon Lee (a18), Sooji Lee (a18), Tracy L. Nelson (a31), Keith E. Whitfield (a32), Qihua Tan (a33), Dongfeng Zhang (a34), Clare H. Llewellyn (a35), Abigail Fisher (a35), S. Alexandra Burt (a36), Kelly L. Klump (a36), Ariel Knafo-Noam (a37), David Mankuta (a38), Lior Abramson (a37), Sarah E. Medland (a39), Nicholas G. Martin (a39), Grant W. Montgomery (a40), Patrik K. E. Magnusson (a8), Nancy L. Pedersen (a8), Anna K. Dahl Aslan (a8) (a41), Robin P. Corley (a42), Brooke M. Huibregtse (a42), Sevgi Y. Öncel (a43), Fazil Aliev (a44) (a45), Robert F. Krueger (a46), Matt McGue (a46), Shandell Pahlen (a46), Gonneke Willemsen (a47), Meike Bartels (a47), Catharina E. M. van Beijsterveldt (a47), Judy L. Silberg (a48), Lindon J. Eaves (a48), Hermine H. Maes (a49), Jennifer R. Harris (a50), Ingunn Brandt (a50), Thomas S. Nilsen (a50), Finn Rasmussen (a51), Per Tynelius (a52), Laura A. Baker (a53), Catherine Tuvblad (a53) (a54), Juan R. Ordoñana (a55) (a56), Juan F. Sánchez-Romera (a55) (a56), Lucia Colodro-Conde (a55) (a57), Margaret Gatz (a8) (a53), David A. Butler (a58), Paul Lichtenstein (a8), Jack H. Goldberg (a59), K. Paige Harden (a60), Elliot M. Tucker-Drob (a60), Glen E. Duncan (a61), Dedra Buchwald (a61), Adam D. Tarnoki (a62) (a63), David L. Tarnoki (a62) (a63), Carol E. Franz (a64), William S. Kremen (a64) (a65), Michael J. Lyons (a66), José A. Maia (a67), Duarte L. Freitas (a68), Eric Turkheimer (a69), Thorkild I. A. Sørensen (a70), Dorret I. Boomsma (a47) and Jaakko Kaprio (a4) (a5)...


Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.


Corresponding author

address for correspondence: Karri Silventoinen, University of Helsinki, Population Research Unit, Department of Social Research, P.O. Box 18, FIN-00014, Finland. E-mail:


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