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Genetic and environmental factors in complex diseases: the older Finnish Twin Cohort.

Twin research : the official journal of the International Society for Twin Studies

Twin Studies as Topic, Sex Distribution, Risk Factors, Registries, Questionnaires, Morbidity, Molecular Epidemiology, Middle Aged, Male, Humans, genetics, epidemiology, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Gene Library, Finland, Female, Environment, Diseases in Twins, Databases, Factual, Cohort Studies, Aged, Age Distribution, Adult, Adolescent

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      In studies on the Finnish Twin Cohort, we investigate genetic and environmental determinants of common, complex diseases, and their behavioral risk factors in Finland, a genetically unique and culturally homogenous population. We have formed the following databases: 1) Like-sexed twin pairs (13,888 pairs of known zygosity) form the older Twin Cohort. They have participated since 1975 in mail surveys, in clinical examinations for subsamples, and have been followed-up for morbidity using national medical registers; 2) The older Twin Cohort was expanded in 1996 to include opposite-sex pairs born 1938-1957 (c. 8000 pairs); 3) Two, new longitudinal studies of adolescent twins and their families, form a complementary, ongoing study base described in more detail in an accompanying article. Genetic and environmental effects vary over the life-span, and only longitudinal studies in genetically informative data sets permits the evaluation of such effects. Finally, the inclusion of DNA-based genetic information in a phenotypically rich family data base will offer a unique resource for research in genetic epidemiology and behavioral medicine.

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