Avera www.avera.org in the U.S. and Vrije Universiteit (VU) in the Netherlands www.vu.nl/en have been collaborating using the Netherlands Twin Register www.tweelingenregister.org/en to study twins. The Avera Institute for Human Genetics (AIHG) continues to provide www.avera.org/mckennan/institute-for-human-genetics DNA sequencing and analysis for the Twin Register.
Avera www.Avera.org and the AIHG have announced a new international partnership with the Netherlands Twin Register at VU in Amsterdam. This formal partnership will expand the scientific collaboration between Avera and VU.
After obtaining important information on twins from the Netherlands Twin Register, both Avera and VU will work on several new projects that will include the exchange of staff between Avera and VU, a joint PhD program, large-scale genotyping of twins, deep sequencing and phenotyping of thousands of twin pairs, and create an Avera/VU bioinformatics team
To expand the studies on twins even further, Avera has just launched the first and only twin register in South Dakota called the “Avera Twin Register”. By collecting and analyzing the DNA of twins with a simple cheek swab, Avera researchers will be able to learn how environment and genetics impact the development of certain traits and diseases.
“We look at twins because they have nearly identical DNA. Why does one twin get a disease and the other twin does not get sick? We are looking at both the genetics and environmental influences on diseases such as type 1 diabetes, behavioral disorders, and cardiovascular disease,” said Gareth Davies, PHS, Chief Scientific Officer and Scientific Director at the Avera Institute for Human Genetics.
Through research, the Twin Register hopes to gain understanding of how genes influence human traits and diseases. This information may enable more accurate diagnoses, develop better treatments, and possibly prevent diseases. AIHG is now able to collect and analyze DNA from twins throughout the Midwest to gain insight into traits and diseases that are specific to the region.
All identical or fraternal twins, triplets, and multiples and their immediate family members are invited to sign up for the Twin Register. Enrollment is free and includes genetic testing to determine if twins are identical or fraternal. To sign up, go to www.Avera.org/twin-register.