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Acta Genet Med Gemellol (Roma). 1991;40(3-4):337-44.

Birth defects in twins: study in a Spanish population.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Hospital Virgen del Camino, Pamplona, Spain.


The risk for specific defects among twins compared to singletons was studied using data collected by the Spanish Collaborative Study of Congenital Malformations (ECEMC). A total of 136 twins had a major and/or minor congenital defect. The overall rate of congenital defects in twins (2.37%) did not deviate significantly from the rate in singletons (2.21%). Like-sex (LS) and male-male (MM) twin pairs had a slightly higher rate of birth defects than unlike-sex (US) and female-female (FF) pairs, respectively. Defects of the central nervous system, cardiovascular system and genitourinary system were significantly more frequent in LS twins than in singletons, with relative risks of 2.8, 2.5 and 1.6, respectively. No significantly increased risk was found among US twins. Among defects of the central nervous system, the rates of anencephaly, encephalocele and hydrocephaly were significantly higher in total and LS twins; however, no significantly increased risk for spina bifida was observed when compared to singletons. MM twins were also 1.9 times more likely to have hypospadias, but the risk among males of male-female (FM) pairs was decreased.

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