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Twin Res Hum Genet. 2013 Feb;16(1):451-4. doi: 10.1017/thg.2012.88. Epub 2012 Dec 7.

Fullerton Virtual Twin Study: an update.

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Department of Psychology, California State University, Fullerton, CA, USA.


Virtual twins (VTs) are same-age unrelated siblings reared together from early infancy. These unique sibling sets replicate twinship, but without the genetic link. The first VT pair was identified and studied at the University of Minnesota in 1990, launching the development of the Fullerton Virtual Twin Study at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) in 1991. The registry currently includes 151 pairs, mostly children, with new pairs identified on a continuous basis. Research with VTs includes studies of general intelligence, body size, interpersonal trust, social coordination, social networks, and parenting. In some cases, VTs have been studied in conjunction with pairs of monozygotic twins, dizygotic twins, full siblings, and friends as part of TAPS (Twins, Adoptees, Peers and Siblings), a collaborative project conducted between CSUF and the University of San Francisco, 2002-2006. VTs will also serve as a comparison group for epigenetic analyses of young Chinese twins reared apart and together.

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