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Zygosity Diagnosis in Young Twins by Questionnaire for Twins' Mothers and Twins' Self-reports

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The present study deals with the determination of zygosity in twins of childhood age by simple questionnaire. The subjects were 224 twin pairs and their mothers, consisting of 159 monozygotic and 65 same-sex dizygotic pairs, identified by genetic markers including DNA samples. Mothers of twins responded to 19 questionnaire items dealing with twin similarity in 16 items about physical features and 3 items about the degree of similarity and frequency of being mistaken (confusion of identity) when twins were about 1 year of age. The twins themselves responded to three questionnaire items dealing with only confusion of identity items. The results of stepwise logistic regression analysis were as follows: the total accuracy of the mothers' questionnaire was 91.5% when using only the items dealing with confusion of identity. This accuracy was slightly lower than that obtained by twins' self-reports dealing with nearly the same question items of confusion of identity, answered by both twins separately with 93.3% accuracy. The total accuracy of mothers' questionnaire responses rose to 95.1% when we used all 19 items. In addition to "the frequency of being mistaken", two physical features, namely "shape of fingers" and "shape of eyebrow", were very informative. In conclusion, twin zygosity can be estimated by the use of the mothers' simple questionnaire with sufficient accuracy even in very young twins about 1 year of age.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Clinical Bioinformatics, Graduate School of Medicine, the University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan, email: 2: Joto Hospital, Yamanashi, Japan

Publication date: 2004-02-01

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