The Washington State Twin Registry has the potential to have a great impact on scientific growth and health-related research, from basic science to public health prevention and intervention efforts. Twins provide a potential resource and research tool for medical and scientific researchers to collaborate and use groundbreaking technologies such as genomic and proteomic tools and environmental geocoding.
Combining twin and molecular methods can dramatically impact public health by advancing fields such as pharmacogenomics, individualized medicine, and disease-specific treatments. Research focused on environmental contributions to disease may lead to better community-based approaches to disease prevention as well as targeted interventions for individuals at the highest risk.
In a recent review article published in Nature Reviews Genetics, The Continuing Value of Twin Studies in the Omics Era, the authors discussed the ongoing importance of twin registries in the current era of molecular genetic studies. By collecting biological material and longitudinal phenotypic data on many thousands of twins, twin registries provide a valuable resource for the study of complex phenotypes and their underlying biology. The authors concluded that “classical twin methods combined with novel technologies represent a powerful approach towards identifying and understanding the molecular pathways that underlie complex traits.”