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Diagnosis of twin zygosity by self-assessment and by genetic analysis

For 173 pairs of like-sex adult twins, self-assessment of zygosity was verified by laboratory diagnosis. Seventeen percent of twins who were very likely monozygous (MZ) believed themselves dizygous (DZ), frequently citing two placentas at their delivery as ‘evidence.’ We suggest that twins be asked what leads them to their assessment of their own zygosity. For 93% of Caucasian and 89% of American Black like-sex twins in our sample, DZ twins could be differentiated based on six polymorphic markers retrievable from frozen sera. MZ twins who believe themselves DZ can be considered ‘environmentally DZ, genetically MZ’ twins, and might be used to study genetic and environmental influences on the treatment of twins and on twins’ choices of social characteristics.

Authors: King MC; Friedman GD; Lattanzio D; Rodgers G; Lewis AM; Dupuy ME; Williams H

Acta Genet Med Gemellol (Roma). 1980;29(2):121-6.

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