The Adult Netherlands Twin Register: Twenty-five years of survey and biological data collection

Gonneke Willemsen*, Jacqueline M. Vink, Abdel Abdellaoui, Anouk Den Braber, Jenny H.D.A. Van Beek, Harmen H.M. Draisma, Jenny Van Dongen, Dennis Van 'T Ent, Lot M. Geels, Rene Van Lien, Lannie Ligthart, Mathijs Kattenberg, Hamdi Mbarek, Marleen H.M. De Moor, Melanie Neijts, Rene Pool, Natascha Stroo, Cornelis Kluft, H. Eka D. Suchiman, P. Eline SlagboomEco J.C. De Geus, Dorret I. Boomsma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Over the past 25 years, the Adult Netherlands Twin Register (ANTR) has collected a wealth of information on physical and mental health, lifestyle, and personality in adolescents and adults. This article provides an overview of the sources of information available, the main research findings, and an outlook for the future. Between 1991 and 2012, longitudinal surveys were completed by twins, their parents, siblings, spouses, and offspring. Data are available for 33,957 participants, with most individuals having completed two or more surveys. Smaller projects provided in-depth phenotyping, including measurements of the autonomic nervous system, neurocognitive function, and brain imaging. For 46% of the ANTR participants, DNA samples are available and whole genome scans have been obtained in more than 11,000 individuals. These data have resulted in numerous studies on heritability, gene x environment interactions, and causality, as well as gene finding studies. In the future, these studies will continue with collection of additional phenotypes, such as metabolomic and telomere length data, and detailed genetic information provided by DNA and RNA sequencing. Record linkage to national registers will allow the study of morbidity and mortality, thus providing insight into the development of health, lifestyle, and behavior across the lifespan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-281
Number of pages11
JournalTwin Research and Human Genetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013

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