The CODATwins Project: The Current Status and Recent Findings of COllaborative Project of Development of Anthropometrical Measures in Twins

K. Silventoinen, A. Jelenkovic, Y. Yokoyama, R. Sund, M. Sugawara, M. Tanaka, S. Matsumoto, L. H. Bogl, D. L. Freitas, J. A. Maia, J. V.B. Hjelmborg, S. Aaltonen, M. Piirtola, A. Latvala, L. Calais-Ferreira, V. C. Oliveira, P. H. Ferreira, F. Ji, F. Ning, Z. PangJ. R. Ordoñana, J. F. Sánchez-Romera, L. Colodro-Conde, S. A. Burt, K. L. Klump, N. G. Martin, S. E. Medland, G. W. Montgomery, C. Kandler, T. A. McAdams, T. C. Eley, A. M. Gregory, K. J. Saudino, L. Dubois, M. Boivin, M. Brendgen, G. Dionne, F. Vitaro, A. D. Tarnoki, D. L. Tarnoki, C. M.A. Haworth, R. Plomin, S. Y. Öncel, F. Aliev, E. Medda, L. Nisticò, V. Toccaceli, J. M. Craig, R. Saffery, S. H. Siribaddana, M. Hotopf, A. Sumathipala, F. Rijsdijk, H. U. Jeong, T. Spector, M. Mangino, G. Lachance, M. Gatz, D. A. Butler, W. Gao, C. Yu, L. Li, G. Bayasgalan, D. Narandalai, K. P. Harden, E. M. Tucker-Drob, K. Christensen, A. Skytthe, K. O. Kyvik, C. A. Derom, R. F. Vlietinck, R. J.F. Loos, W. Cozen, A. E. Hwang, T. M. Mack, M. He, X. Ding, J. L. Silberg, H. H. Maes, T. L. Cutler, J. L. Hopper, P. K.E. Magnusson, N. L. Pedersen, A. K. Dahl Aslan, L. A. Baker, C. Tuvblad, M. Bjerregaard-Andersen, H. Beck-Nielsen, M. Sodemann, V. Ullemar, C. Almqvist, Q. Tan, D. Zhang, G. E. Swan, R. Krasnow, K. L. Jang, A. Knafo-Noam, D. Mankuta, L. Abramson, P. Lichtenstein, R. F. Krueger, M. McGue, S. Pahlen, P. Tynelius, F. Rasmussen, G. E. Duncan, D. Buchwald, R. P. Corley, B. M. Huibregtse, T. L. Nelson, K. E. Whitfield, C. E. Franz, W. S. Kremen, M. J. Lyons, S. Ooki, I. Brandt, T. S. Nilsen, J. R. Harris, J. Sung, H. A. Park, J. Lee, S. J. Lee, G. Willemsen, M. Bartels, C. E.M. Van Beijsterveldt, C. H. Llewellyn, A. Fisher, E. Rebato, A. Busjahn, R. Tomizawa, F. Inui, M. Watanabe, C. Honda, N. Sakai, Y. M. Hur, T. I.A. Sorensen, D. I. Boomsma, J. Kaprio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural-geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)800-808
Number of pages9
JournalTwin Research and Human Genetics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was conducted within the CODATwins project (Academy of Finland #266592). K Silventoinen is supported by Osaka University’s International Joint Research Promotion Program. This research was facilitated through access to Twins Research Australia, a national resource supported by a Centre of Research Excellence Grant (ID: 1079102), from the National Health and Medical Research Council. The Boston University Twin Project is funded by grants (#R01 HD068435 #R01 MH062375) from the National Institutes of Health to K. Saudino. Paulo Ferreira is funded by a National Medical Research Council Research Fellowship. California Twin Program was supported by The California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (7RT-0134H, 8RT-0107H, 6RT-0354H) and the National Institutes of Health (1R01ESO15150-01). The Carolina African American Twin Study of Aging (CAATSA) was funded by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (grant 1RO1-AG13662-01A2) to K. E. Whitfield. The CATSS-Study is supported by the Swedish Research Council through the Swedish Initiative for Research on Microdata in the Social And Medical Sciences (SIMSAM) framework grant no 340-2013-5867, grants provided by the Stockholm County Council (ALF-projects), the Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation and the Swedish Asthma and Allergy Association’s Research Foundation. Chinese National Twin Registry is funded by Special Fund for Health Scientific Research in the Public Welfare (Project No: 201502006), China. Colorado Twin Registry is funded by NIDA-funded center grant DA011015, & Longitudinal Twin Study HD10333; Author Huibregtse is supported by 5T32DA017637 and 5T32AG052371. Danish Twin Registry is supported by the National Program for Research Infrastructure 2007 from the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation, The Research Council for Health and Disease, the Velux Foundation and the US National Institute of Health (P01 AG08761). Since its origin, the East Flanders Prospective Survey has been partly supported by grants from the Fund of Scientific Research, Flanders and Twins, a nonprofit Association for Scientific Research in Multiple Births (Belgium). Data collection and analyses in Finnish twin cohorts have been supported by ENGAGE — European Network for Genetic and Genomic Epidemiology, FP7-HEALTH-F4-2007, grant agreement number 201413, National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (grants AA-12502, AA-00145 and AA-09203 to R J Rose, the Academy of Finland Center of Excellence in Complex Disease Genetics (grant numbers: 213506, 129680), and the Academy of Finland (grants 100499, 205585, 118555, 141054, 265240, 263278 and 264146 to J Kaprio). Gemini was supported by a grant from Cancer Research UK (C1418/A7974). Waves 1–3 of Genesis 12–19 were funded by the W T Grant Foundation, the University of London Central Research fund and a Medical Research Council Training Fellowship (G81/343) and Career Development Award (G120/635) to Thalia C. Eley. Wave 4 was supported by grants from the Economic and Social Research Council (RES-000-22-2206) and the Institute of Social Psychiatry (06/07–11) to Alice M. Gregory, who was also supported at that time by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (RF/2/RFG/2008/0145). Wave 5 was supported by funding to Alice M. Gregory from Goldsmiths, University of London. T. C. Eley is partly funded by a program grant from the UK Medical Research Council (MR/M021475/1). This study presents independent research [partly] funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health. The Minnesota Twin Registry (MTR) acknowledges support from NIH grant R01AG053217. Guangzhou Twin Eye Study is supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant #81125007). Anthropometric measurements of the Hungarian twins were supported by Medexpert Ltd., Budapest, Hungary. Korean Twin-Family Register was supported by the Global Research Network Program of the National Research Foundation (NRF 2011-220-E00006). Longitudinal Israeli Study of Twins was funded by the Starting Grant no. 240994 from the European Research Council (ERC) to Ariel Knafo. The Michigan State University Twin Registry has been supported by Michigan State University, as well as grants R01-MH081813, R01-MH0820-54, R01-MH092377-02, R21-MH070542-01, R03-MH63851-01 and 1R01-MH118848-01 from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), R01-HD066040 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and 11-SPG-2518 from the MSU Foundation. The content of this paper is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIMH, the NICHD or the National Institutes of Health. The Murcia Twin Registry is supported by Fundación Séneca, Regional Agency for Science and Technology, Murcia, Spain (08633/PHCS/08, 15302/PHCS/10 & 19479/PI/14) and Ministry of Science and Innovation, Spain (PSI2009-11560 & PSI2014-56680-R). The NAS–NRC Twin Registry acknowledges financial support from the National Institutes of Health grant number R21 AG039572. Netherlands Twin Register acknowledges the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and MagW/ZonMW grants 904-61-090, 985-10-002, 912-10-020, 904-61-193,480-04-004, 463-06-001, 451-04-034, 400-05-717, Addiction-31160008, Middelgroot-911-09-032, Spinozapremie 56-464-14192; VU University’s Institute for Health and Care Research (EMGO+); the European Research Council (ERC-230374), the Avera Institute, Sioux Falls, South Dakota (USA). Osaka University Aged Twin Registry is supported by grants from JSPS KAKENHI JP (23593419, 24792601, 26671010, 24590695, 26293128, 16K15385, 16K15978, 16K15989, 16H03261). PETS was supported by grants from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (grant numbers 437015 and 607358 to JC, and RS), the Bonnie Babes Foundation (grant number BBF20704 to JMC), the Financial Markets Foundation for Children (grant no. 032-2007 to JMC), and by the Victorian Government’s Operational Infrastructure Support Program. Madeira data comes from the following project: Genetic and environmental influences on physical activity, fitness and health: the Madeira family study Project reference: POCI/DES/56834/2004 Founded by the Portuguese agency for research (The Foundation for Science and Technology [FCT]). TwinsUK receives funding from the Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council and European Union. TwinsUK and M. Mangino are supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)-funded BioResource, Clinical Research Facility and Biomedical Research Centre based at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with King’s College London. The Quebec Newborn Twin Study acknowledges financial support from the Fonds Québécois de la Recherche sur la Société et la Culture, the Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Québec, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the National Health Research Development Program, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Sainte-Justine Hospital’s Research Center, and the Canada Research Chair Program (Michel Boivin). South Korea Twin Registry is supported by National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-371-2011-1 B00047). We acknowledge The Swedish Twin Registry for access to data. The Swedish Twin Registry is managed by Karolinska Institutet and receives funding through the Swedish Research Council under the grant no. 2017-00641. The Twins Early Development Study (TEDS) is supported by a program grant (G0901245) from the UK Medical Research Council and the work on obesity in TEDS is supported in part by a grant from the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (31/D19086). Currently TEDS is supported by MRC grant ‘MR/M021475/1’. The Texas Twin Project is currently funded by grant R01HD083613 from the National Institutes of Health. S. Y. Öncel and F. Aliev are supported by Kırıkkale University Research Grant: KKU, 2009/43 and TUBITAK grant 114C117. The University of Southern California Twin Study is funded by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (R01 MH58354). Washington State Twin Registry (formerly the University of Washington Twin Registry) was supported in part by grant NIH RC2 HL103416 (D. Buchwald, PI). Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging was supported by National Institute of Health grants NIA R01 AG018384, R01 AG018386, R01 AG022381 and R01 AG022982, and, in part, with resources of the VA San Diego Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health. The Cooperative Studies Program of the Office of Research & Development of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs has provided financial support for the development and maintenance of the Vietnam Era Twin (VET) Registry. The content of this paper is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIA/NIH, or the VA. The West Japan Twins and Higher Order Multiple Births Registry was supported by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B) (grant number 15H05105) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • BMI
  • Twins
  • birth size
  • education
  • height
  • heritability
  • international comparisons


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