Guest Editorial: Overview, implications, and directions of twin design research exploring neurodevelopmental conditions

Bringing you some selected Open Access journal papers from our portfolio; The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (JCPP), Child and Adolescent Mental Health journal (CAMH), and JCPP Advances.

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Open Access paper from JCPP Advances

We are honored that our publication, “Behavioral and biological divergence in monozygotic twin pairs discordant for autism phenotypes: A systematic review” was chosen for the Best Paper Award 2022 in JCPP Advances. In the awarded paper, we examine published evidence on non-shared environment effects in individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (Myers et al., 2021). We included 26 studies that investigated monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs discordant for ASD and sought to explore biological mechanisms and phenotypic presentations associated with non-shared environment. The review found that non-shared environment effects in ASD might be associated with heterogeneous postzygotic genetic mechanisms and manifest as a range of biological and behavioral phenotypes. However, the depth of our findings was limited by relatively few studies, small sample sizes, and methodological diversity. We concluded that more research is needed on co-occurring biological and behavioral phenotypes using a consistent format for designing, analyzing, and reporting MZ ASD discordant twin studies in order to further examine the role of non-shared environment in the etiology of ASD. Reflecting on our systematic review, this editorial will provide an overview of twin design in research and its benefits and limitations. It will also describe areas in need of further rigorous research using twin design and suggests some standards related to twin design, analysis, and the publication of twin studies.

Authors; Lynnea Myers, Sven Bölte

First published: 17 November 2022

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Other resources

Podcast with Lynnea Myers on ‘Behavioural and Biological Divergence in Monozygotic Twin Pairs Discordant for Autism Phenotypes’

Open Access JCPP Advances paper ‘Behavioral and biological divergence in monozygotic twin pairs discordant for autism phenotypes: A systematic review‘ by Lynnea Myers, Pei-Yin Pan, Karl Lundin Remnélius, Janina Neufeld, Peter B. Marschik, Ulf Jonsson, Sven Bölte

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