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TwinsUK: The UK Adult Twin Registry Update 

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Accepted/In press26 Jun 2019


King's Authors


TwinsUK is the largest cohort of community dwelling adult twins in the UK. The registry comprises over 14,000 volunteer twins (14,838 including mixed, single and triplets), it is predominantly female (82%) and middle aged (mean age 59). In addition, over 1,800 parents and siblings of twins are registered volunteers. During the last 25 years, TwinsUK has collected numerous questionnaire responses, physical/cognitive measures and biological measures on over 8,500 subjects. Data were collected alongside four comprehensive phenotyping clinical visits to the Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, King’s College London. Such collection methods have resulted in very detailed longitudinal clinical, biochemical, behavioural, dietary and socio-economic cohort characterisation; it provides a multidisciplinary platform for the study of complex disease during the adult life-course, including the process of healthy ageing. The major strength of TwinsUK is the availability of several ‘omic’ technologies for a range of sample types from participants, which includes genome-wide scans of single nucleotide variants, next-generation sequencing, metabolomic profiles, microbiomics, exome sequencing, epigenetic markers, gene expression arrays, RNA sequencing and telomere length measures. TwinsUK facilitates and actively encourages sharing the ‘TwinsUK’ resource with the scientific community – interested researchers may request data via the TwinsUK website ( for their own use or future collaboration with the study team. In addition, further cohort data collection is planned via the Wellcome Open Research gateway ( The current article presents an up-to-date report on the application of technological advances, new study procedures in the cohort and future direction of TwinsUK. 

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