Genome-wide linkage scan for spontaneous DZ twinning

Catherine Derom*, Damini Jawaheer, Wei V. Chen, Kim L. McBride, Xiangli Xiao, Chris Amos, Peter K. Gregersen, Robert Vlietinck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


In humans, spontaneous DZ twinning is known to have a genetic basis. A prior investigation in the Flemish and Dutch population showed that the phenotype of 'having DZ twins' was consistent with an autosomal monogenic dominant model, with a gene frequency of 3.5% and a female-specific lifetime penetrance of 10%. Recessive, X-linked, polygenic and sporadic models were rejected. This study reports on a genome-wide scan of 14 Flemish families containing 57 mothers of spontaneous DZ twins. Two-point linkage analysis using the autosomal dominant model showed nine chromosomal regions with a LOD score around 1. After multipoint linkage analysis, including heterogeneity, three chromosomes continued to give high LOD scores. These regions were further haplotyped with additional markers at 1cM distance. The multipoint analysis was not in favour of linkage of the DZ twinning trait in most candidate genes and other regions (LOD score < -2) under the genetic model of autosomal dominance. To further evaluate the evidence for linkage given some uncertainty about the correct mode of inheritance of twinning susceptibility other models of inheritance were tested. Results of this analysis showed all models gave highest LOD scores under dominant models. If heterogeneity among the families is taken into account, the peaks that were observed on chromosome 2, 7 and 18 could well contain a potential gene contributing to DZ twinning. These results give suggestive evidence that the mode of inheritance of DZ twinning is probably more complex than was originally expected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-122
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Human Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Candidate genes
  • DZ twins
  • Linkage
  • Twinning frequency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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