The Qingdao Twin Registry: A Focus on Chronic Disease Research

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Genetics and Genomics | International Public Health | Medicine and Health | Substance Abuse and Addiction


With the changing patterns of morbidity and mortality in China, noncommunicable chronic diseases have become the major threats to the health of the Chinese population. The causes of chronic diseases include genetic factors and behavioral risk factors such as the use of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs, unhealthy dietary behaviors, and lack of physical activity. Twin studies offer a unique opportunity to disentangle the genetic and environmental risk and protective factors for chronic disease. The Qingdao Twin Registry (QTR) was initiated in 1998 as part of the National Chinese Twin Registry. Over 11,000 pairs of twins and multiples of all ages have been recruited into the registry. Several studies of physical and mental health are underway. Many of the adult twins have completed health and behavioral risk factor surveys, and the adolescent twins are participating in a study of gene–environment interactions in tobacco and alcohol use. Studies of the heritability of personality factors have been conducted. In 2002, Qingdao established the Qingdao Twin Health Promotion Association, a nonprofit organization that supports health services for twins and their parents, organizes special events and health-related activities for twins, and raises funds to conduct twin health examinations. The QTR will be a useful resource for future studies of population genetics in human health and disease.

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© 2006 Cambridge University Press