The University of Washington Twin Registry is a unique community-based registry of twin pairs who join specifically to participate in scientific research. It was founded in 2002 to serve as a resource for investigators throughout the scientific community. Current enrollment exceeds 7,200 pairs, and plans are in place to increase enrollment to 10,000 pairs by 2015. In addition to serving as a recruitment base for new research studies, the registry maintains extensive and continually expanding survey data on physical and mental health, as well as a biorepository that includes DNA from more than 8,800 individual twins. The registry is engaged in linking member data to birth records and to diagnostic and procedure variables for hospital-based care provided to members in Washington State. It also incorporates several innovative variables relevant to the built and social environments, which were created by geocoding twin addresses and linking the resulting coordinates to geospatial information systems databases. This combination of existing data and biospecimens, characterizing a group of twins who are willing to participate in research, is a valuable resource for the new wave of twin studies. These include ‘omics’, epigenetics, gene-by-environment interactions, and other novel methods to understand human health.
The University of Washington Twin Registry: Poised for the next generation of twin research. Twin Res Hum Genet. 2013; 16(1):455-62.