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Twin Res Hum Genet. 2009 Feb;12(1):79-85. doi: 10.1375/twin.12.1.79.

The estimated probability of dizygotic twins: a comparison of two methods.

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  • 1March of Dimes, California Research Division, Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, Oakland, California 94609, United States of America. jhardin@marchofdimes.com

Abstract

This study presents a general model of two binary variables and applies it to twin sex pairing data from 21 twin data sources to estimate the frequency of dizygotic twins. The purpose of this study is to clarify the relationship between maximum likelihood and Weinberg's differential rule zygosity estimation methods. We explore the accuracy of these zygosity estimation measures in relation to twin ascertainment methods and the probability of a male. Twin sex pairing data from 21 twin data sources representing 15 countries was collected for use in this study. Maximum likelihood estimation of the probability of dizygotic twins is applied to describe the variation in the frequency of dizygotic twin births. The differences between maximum likelihood and Weinberg's differential rule zygosity estimation methods are presented as a function of twin data ascertainment method and the probability of a male. Maximum likelihood estimation of the probability of dizygotic twins ranges from 0.083 (95% approximate CI: 0.082, 0.085) to 0.750 (95% approximate CI: 0.749, 0.752) for voluntary ascertainment data sources and from 0.374 (95% approximate CI: 0.373, 0.375) to 0.987 (95% approximate CI: 0.959, 1.016) for active ascertainment data sources. In 17 of the 21 twin data sources differences of 0.01 or less occur between maximum likelihood and Weinberg zygosity estimation methods. The Weinberg and maximum likelihood estimates are negligibly different in most applications. Using the above general maximum likelihood estimate, the probability of a dizygotic twin is subject to substantial variation that is largely a function of twin data ascertainment method.

PMID:
19210182
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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