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Biol Sex Differ. 2017 Apr 27;8:14. doi: 10.1186/s13293-017-0134-x. eCollection 2017.

Does the sex of one's co-twin affect height and BMI in adulthood? A study of dizygotic adult twins from 31 cohorts.

Author information

1
Institute for Molecular Medicine FIMM, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 20, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland.
2
Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
3
Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
4
Department of Genetics, Physical Anthropology and Animal Physiology, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Leioa, Spain.
5
Department of Public Health, Epidemiology, Biostatistics & Biodemography, The Danish Twin Registry, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.
6
Obesity Research Unit, Research Programs Unit, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
7
Endocrinology, Abdominal Center, Helsinki University Central Hospital and University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
8
Istituto Superiore di Sanità-National Center for Epidemiology, Surveillance and Health Promotion, Rome, Italy.
9
Department of Education, Mokpo National University, Jeonnam, South Korea.
10
Department of Human and Molecular Genetics, Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA USA.
11
Department of Human and Molecular Genetics, Psychiatry & Massey Cancer Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA USA.
12
Healthy Twin Association of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
13
Graduate School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, Japan.
14
The Australian Twin Registry, Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC Australia.
15
Department of Psychology, Medical School Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
16
Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC Canada.
17
Department of Clinical Biochemistry and Pharmacology and Department of Clinical Genetics, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark.
18
Department of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.
19
Odense Patient data Explorative Network (OPEN), Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark.
20
Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine of USC, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA USA.
21
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA USA.
22
Centre of Human Genetics, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
23
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Ghent University Hospitals, Ghent, Belgium.
24
Department of Health and Exercise Sciences and Colorado School of Public Health, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, USA.
25
Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, NC USA.
26
Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO USA.
27
Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, MRC Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre, King's College London, London, UK.
28
Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London, London, UK.
29
Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN USA.
30
Department of Biological Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
31
Department of Noncommunicable Diseases Prevention, Qingdao Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Qingdao, China.
32
Institute of Public Health, Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Biodemography, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.
33
Department of Public Health, Qingdao University Medical College, Qingdao, China.
34
Genetic Epidemiology Department, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Australia.
35
Molecular Epidemiology Department, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Australia.
36
Department of Medicine, Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA USA.
37
Center for Health Sciences, SRI International, Menlo Park, CA USA.
38
HealthTwiSt GmbH, Berlin, Germany.
39
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
40
Department of Statistics, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Kırıkkale University, Kırıkkale, Turkey.
41
Psychology and African American Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, USA.
42
Faculty of Business, Karabuk University, Karabuk, Turkey.
43
Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA USA.
44
School of Law, Psychology and Social Work, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden.
45
Institute of Research & Development, Battaramulla, Sri Lanka.
46
Faculty of Medicine & Allied Sciences, Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, Saliyapura, Sri Lanka.
47
Institute of Psychiatry Psychology and Neuroscience, NIHR Mental Health Biomedical Research Centre, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London, London, UK.
48
Research Institute for Primary Care and Health Sciences, School for Primary Care Research (SPCR), Faculty of Health, Keele University, Staffordshire, UK.
49
Institute of Gerontology and Aging Research Network-Jönköping (ARN-J), School of Health and Welfare, Jönköping University, Jönköping, Sweden.
50
Department of Human Anatomy and Psychobiology, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain.
51
IMIB-Arrixaca, Murcia, Spain.
52
Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain.
53
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Australia.
54
Washington State Twin Registry, Washington State University-Health Sciences Spokane, Spokane, WA USA.
55
Department of Radiology, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary.
56
Hungarian Twin Registry, Budapest, Hungary.
57
Department of Public Health Nursing, Osaka City University, Osaka, Japan.
58
Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea.
59
The Charles Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine, The Mindich Child Health and Development Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY USA.
60
Novo Nordisk Foundation Centre for Basic Metabolic Research (Section on Metabolic Genetics), and Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
61
Institute of Preventive Medicine, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospitals, Copenhagen, The Capital Region Denmark.
62
Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The comparison of traits in twins from opposite-sex (OS) and same-sex (SS) dizygotic twin pairs is considered a proxy measure of prenatal hormone exposure. To examine possible prenatal hormonal influences on anthropometric traits, we compared mean height, body mass index (BMI), and the prevalence of being overweight or obese between men and women from OS and SS dizygotic twin pairs.

METHODS:

The data were derived from the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) database, and included 68,494 SS and 53,808 OS dizygotic twin individuals above the age of 20 years from 31 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. Zygosity was determined by questionnaires or DNA genotyping depending on the study. Multiple regression and logistic regression models adjusted for cohort, age, and birth year with the twin type as a predictor were carried out to compare height and BMI in twins from OS pairs with those from SS pairs and to calculate the adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for being overweight or obese.

RESULTS:

OS females were, on average, 0.31 cm (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.20, 0.41) taller than SS females. OS males were also, on average, taller than SS males, but this difference was only 0.14 cm (95% CI 0.02, 0.27). Mean BMI and the prevalence of overweight or obesity did not differ between males and females from SS and OS twin pairs. The statistically significant differences between OS and SS twins for height were small and appeared to reflect our large sample size rather than meaningful differences of public health relevance.

CONCLUSIONS:

We found no evidence to support the hypothesis that prenatal hormonal exposure or postnatal socialization (i.e., having grown up with a twin of the opposite sex) has a major impact on height and BMI in adulthood.

KEYWORDS:

Body mass index; CODATwins; Height; Opposite-sex twins; Prenatal hormone exposure

PMID:
28465822
PMCID:
PMC5408365
DOI:
10.1186/s13293-017-0134-x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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