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No Evidence of Genetic Mediation in the Association Between Birthweight and Academic Performance in 2,413 Danish Adolescent Twin Pairs

  • Inge Petersen (a1), Vibeke Myrup Jensen (a2), Matt McGue (a3), Paul Bingley (a4) and Kaare Christensen (a5)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1375/twin.12.6.564
  • Published online: 01 February 2012
Abstract
Abstract

Evidence of a positive association between birthweight and IQ has been established in several studies. Analyses of within twin pair differences in birthweight and IQ have been used to shed light on the basis of the association. The strength of this approach is the possibility of controlling for both unmeasured common childhood–environmental factors as well as genetic factors shared by the co-twins. Two twin studies suggest the existence of genetic mediation between birthweight and IQ, that is, common genetic factors influence both fetal growth and IQ in childhood, while two other twin studies find no evidence of such mediation. In the present study we use a large population-based national register study of 2,413 Danish twin-pairs from birth cohorts 1986–1990, of which we have zygosity information on 74%. We perform individual level as well as intra-pair analyses of birthweight and school achievements at age 16. For both sexes we observed a monotonic increase in academic performance with increasing percentiles of birthweight. However, we did not find that this association is due to genetic mediation.

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Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: Inge Petersen, The Danish Twin Registry, Epidemiology, University of Southern Denmark, 5000 Odense C, Denmark.
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Twin Research and Human Genetics
  • ISSN: 1832-4274
  • EISSN: 1839-2628
  • URL: /core/journals/twin-research-and-human-genetics
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