About the UW Twin Registry
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Although there are other twin registries in the United States, the UW Twin Registry is special because it is community-based. We invite all twins who apply for their driver's license or identification card in the State of Washington to join the Registry. This means that our members represent the entire community of twins who have lived in the State of Washington. A community-based twin registry consists of an unbiased sample of members and has great value for research studies.
The past decade has been very exciting for the UW Twin Registry, and we've developed new research partnerships all over the globe! Thanks to our members and dedicated staff, the UW Twin Registry is well on its way to becoming one of the best twin registries in the United States!
Twin research is an extremely powerful tool for understanding how genes, behavior, and environment affect health and wellbeing. Identical twins share virtually all of the same genes (that is, the same DNA). We know that similarities between identical twins may be due to genetic factors, while any differences must have a non-genetic origin. Fraternal twins share about half of their DNA. We know that differences between fraternal twins may be due to either genetic or non-genetic factors.
Studies that examine differences across both fraternal and identical twin pairs can dramatically enhance our understanding of how we stay healthy and why we get sick. For decades, twin research has helped uncover clues to the origins of many diseases, such as depression, alcoholism, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. Many twin pairs are needed to conduct research about these common health conditions.
A twin registry is a registry (database) of twins who are interested in participating in health and behavior-related research. A number of countries around the world, including Australia, England, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden, have created large twin registries. Surprisingly, there are only a few twin registries in the United States.
The University of Washington Twin Registry is on its way to becoming the largest twin registry in the United States, and partners with twin researchers around the world to study health-related topics such as pain, sleep, immune function, eating behaviors, stress, and aging.