Methodology of Twin Studies: A General Introduction

  • Paolo Parisi
Part of the NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 30)

Abstract

The birthdate of twin research is usually considered to be the year 1875, when Francis Galton, in his paper, “The History of Twins as a Criterion of the Relative Powers of Nature and Nurture,” first suggested the respective influences of heredity (nature) and environment (nurture) on any given trait or condition in man be assessed through the comparison of twin partners. Systematic scientific investigations using twins were initially confined to psychology, but the interest soon spread and the “twin method” was enthusiastically applied in most areas of human biology. Inevitably, perhaps, there also were indiscriminate applications, ill-designed studies and uncritical conclusions. This gave momentum to criticism of the method, with doubt being cast on some of its basic assumptions. Thus, in the fifties and sixties, the method became much less popular than it used to be. This called for a serious revision of the classic design and of its assumptions, as a result of which possible limitations and pitfalls have been identified, corrections suggested, and new approaches and methodologies developed.

Keywords

Covariance Recombination Eter Dition 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paolo Parisi
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Medical GeneticsUniversity of RomeRomeItaly
  2. 2.The Mendel InstituteRomeItaly

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