The utility of twins in developmental cognitive neuroscience research: How twins strengthen the ABCD research design

William G. Iacono, Andrew C. Heath, John K. Hewitt, Michael C. Neale, Marie T. Banich, Monica M. Luciana, Pamela A. Madden, Deanna M. Barch, James M. Bjork

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

The ABCD twin study will elucidate the genetic and environmental contributions to a wide range of mental and physical health outcomes in children, including substance use, brain and behavioral development, and their interrelationship. Comparisons within and between monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs, further powered by multiple assessments, provide information about genetic and environmental contributions to developmental associations, and enable stronger tests of causal hypotheses, than do comparisons involving unrelated children. Thus a sub-study of 800 pairs of same-sex twins was embedded within the overall Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD) design. The ABCD Twin Hub comprises four leading centers for twin research in Minnesota, Colorado, Virginia, and Missouri. Each site is enrolling 200 twin pairs, as well as singletons. The twins are recruited from registries of all twin births in each State during 2006–2008. Singletons at each site are recruited following the same school-based procedures as the rest of the ABCD study. This paper describes the background and rationale for the ABCD twin study, the ascertainment of twin pairs and implementation strategy at each site, and the details of the proposed analytic strategies to quantify genetic and environmental influences and test hypotheses critical to the aims of the ABCD study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-42
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Volume32
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2018

Keywords

  • Brain function
  • Brain structure
  • Environment
  • Heritability
  • Substance use
  • Twins

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