Objective To determine the genetic contribution to risk for respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) among moderately preterm, late preterm, and term infants (estimated gestational age ≥32 weeks) of African- and European-descent. Study design We reviewed clinical records for 524 consecutive twin pairs ≥32 weeks gestation. We identified pairs in which at least 1 twin had RDS (n = 225) and compared the concordance of RDS between monozygotic and dizygotic twins. Using mixed-effects logistic regression, we identified covariates that increased disease risk. We performed additive genetic, common environmental, and residual effects modeling to estimate genetic variance and used the ratio of genetic variance to total variance to estimate genetic contribution to RDS disease risk. Results Monozygotic twins were more concordant for RDS than dizygotic twins (P =.0040). Estimated gestational age, European-descent, male sex, delivery by cesarean, and 5-minute Apgar score each independently increased risk for RDS. After adjusting for these covariates, genetic effects accounted for 58% (P =.0002) of the RDS disease risk variance for all twin pairs. Conclusions In addition to environmental factors, genetic factors may contribute to RDS risk among moderately preterm, late preterm, and term infants. Discovery of risk alleles may be important for prediction and management of RDS risk.