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The Netherlands twin register biobank: A resource for genetic epidemiological studies

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Author: Willemsen, G. · Geus, E.J.C. de · Bartels, M. · Beijsterveldt, C.E.M.T. van · Brooks, A.I. · Estourgie-van Burk, G.F. · Fugman, D.A. · Hoekstra, C. · Hottenga, J.-J. · Kluft, K. · Meijer, P. · Montgomery, G.W. · Rizzu, P. · Sondervan, D. · Smit, A.B. · Spijker, S. · Suchiman, H.E.D. · Tischfield, J.A. · Lehner, T. · Slagboom, P.E. · Boomsma, D.I.
Institution: TNO Kwaliteit van Leven
Source:Twin Research and Human Genetics, 3, 13, 231-245
Identifier: 364439
Keywords: Biology · Biomedical Research · DNA · GWAS · Mental health · Physical health · RNA · alanine aminotransferase · aspartate aminotransferase · C reactive protein · cholesterol · creatinine · fibrinogen · gamma glutamyltransferase · glucose · hemoglobin · hemoglobin A1c · high density lipoprotein cholesterol · insulin · low density lipoprotein cholesterol · triacylglycerol · adult · alanine aminotransferase blood level · article · aspartate aminotransferase blood level · basophil · blood sampling · body composition · cell line · cholesterol blood level · creatinine blood level · DNA isolation · eosinophil count · erythrocyte count · female · fibrinogen blood level · gamma glutamyl transferase blood level · gene expression · genetic epidemiology · genotype · glucose blood level · glucose metabolism · hematocrit · hemoglobin blood level · heredity · human · insulin blood level · leukocyte count · lifestyle · lipoprotein blood level · lymphocyte count · male · mean corpuscular hemoglobin · mean corpuscular volume · menstrual cycle · mental health · monocyte · Netherlands · Netherlands twin register biobank · neutrophil count · phenotype · priority journal · professional practice · register · single nucleotide polymorphism · thrombocyte count · thrombocyte volume · triacylglycerol blood level · urinalysis


In 2004 the Netherlands Twin Register (NTR) started a large scale biological sample collection in twin families to create a resource for genetic studies on health, lifestyle and personality. Between January 2004 and July 2008, adult participants from NTR research projects were invited into the study. During a home visit between 7:00 and 10:00 am, fasting blood and morning urine samples were collected. Fertile women were bled on day 2-4 of the menstrual cycle, or in their pill-free week. Biological samples were collected for DNA isolation, gene expression studies, creation of cell lines and for biomarker assessment. At the time of blood sampling, additional phenotypic information concerning health, medication use, body composition and smoking was collected. Of the participants contacted, 69% participated. Blood and urine samples were collected in 9,530 participants (63% female, average age 44.4 (SD 15.5) years) from 3,477 families. Lipid profile, glucose, insulin, HbA1c, haematology, CRP, fibrinogen, liver enzymes and creatinine have been assessed. Longitudinal survey data on health, personality and lifestyle are currently available for 90% of all participants. Genome-wide SNP data are available for 3,524 participants, with additional genotyping ongoing. The NTR biobank, combined with the extensive phenotypic information available within the NTR, provides a valuable resource for the study of genetic determinants of individual differences in mental and physical health. It offers opportunities for DNA-based and gene expression studies as well as for future metabolomic and proteomic projects.